Movement is one of the major criteria for differentiating the living from the non-living and all animals from tiny microscopic bacteria to large blue whales and elephants engage in movement or locomotion. Movement serves several major purposes like finding food, moving away from danger and finding shelter. However, not all animals need to be fast and the speed of each animal depends on its environment, feeding habits and the predators present in the ecosystem. Here is our list of the slowest animals in the world.
Slowest Animals In The World
1. Three-toed sloth
This furry animal is native to America and is the slowest animal in the world. On an average, it moves only up to 0.003 miles an hour meaning that it cannot move more than 100 feet a day. For all practical purposes, it lives in the same place all its life. However, the sloth is safe from predators despite its speed because it spends most of its time on high tree branches and feeds and sleeps on trees. Since their diet consists mainly of leaves, the slow movements are a way of conserving energy. Also, read about animal stereotypes in the world.
This amazing animal is not actually a fish but belongs to the phylum Echinodermata. It has no blood, circulatory system or brain and can regenerate lost body parts like severed limbs. This animal moves only about 0.02 miles per hour but can travel long distances using ocean currents. The star-shaped body is a major inhibitor when it comes to speed. There are over 2000 species of starfish found in the wild and none of them is adept at moving about. Also, please read deadliest fishes in the world.
3. Garden Snail
Garden or land snails are commonly found all over the world and can be differentiated from garden slugs by the presence of a coiled shell on their backs that is absent in slugs. This large shell inhibits their movement and they cannot move faster than a few feet an hour. Snails move by expanding and contracting their body and recede into their shell if they sense danger. The hibernating animal goes into hibernation during the winter and emerges again to breed during the monsoon. Clusterwink Snail is one of the amazing bioluminescent animals on planet Earth.
4. Giant Tortoise
The Giant Tortoise also is known as the Galapagos Tortoise is large and heavy, making it one of the slowest animals in the world. It is one of the endemic animals Of Galapagos Islands. Also, seen in the Seychelles islands and has the longest lifespan among vertebrates. It is a very heavy animal and can weigh up to 350 kilos. The heavy shell, large thick legs and heavy body make this animal particularly slow. Since it has no natural predators, the slow speed is not a threat to its life.
The Koala is commonly called a Koala bear, but it belongs to a category of animals called Marsupials. Also, one of the cutest animals in the world is native to Australia and like the sloth spends most of its time high up in trees. Eucalyptus trees are a favourite habitat of the Koala and they also eat Eucalyptus leaves. The strong limbs and broad tail of this animal allow it to stay up to trees for long durations of time and make it a fast climber. It is one of the wonderful Australian animals in the world.
6. Banana Slug
This common slug is a mollusc and has no shell, thus making it visibly different from a garden snail. The banana slug is one of the slowest animals in the world and is named after the yellow coloured body that is shaped like a banana. The slug moves by contracting its body and is a ground dweller. It can survive underground for several years in moist well-ventilated soil. Because of its body movement, it can travel at a maximum speed of 0.2 miles per hour.
7. Sea Horse
Seahorse is one of the marine colour changing animals that looks very peculiar and is easily identifiable by its snout, spiny body, and coiled tail. Compared to its body size, it has very small fins that are not very strong and this makes the movements of this animal very slow. At the most, this animal can travel at 0.5 miles an hour. It is interesting to note that seahorses are one of the very few animals in which the male takes care of the brood. Pygmy Seahorse is listed under beautiful pink animals.
Image Source: Wikimedia
The Loris, also known as the Slow Loris is a nocturnal animal in the world living in South East Asia and is the slowest primate in the world. It has human-like hands that help it hold onto and climb branches and the strong limbs enable it to live on trees, away from predators lurking on the ground. The Loris has large eyes and has excellent night vision. It moves in very slow motions to conserve energy and has a maximum speed of 2 kilometres per hour.
Image Source: Wikimedia
9. Gila Monster
This slow-moving animal is a very secretive creature found in the deserts of South Western America and is one of the major predators of the region. It does not venture out in the open very frequently and so is difficult to spot. Because of its slow speed, it does not chase pre-but rather hides and waits for it to approach. At a time, this animal can eat up to a third of its body weight and stores the extra carbohydrates as fats, to utilise during the winter when food is scarce.
Manatees, also known as dugongs or sea cows are marine mammals that live in shallow waters in tropical oceans around the world. They are herbivores and feed on underwater plants. Rather than actively moving, these animals depend on the water current to carry them to new feeding grounds and passively float along with it. Because of their large body size and the absence of specialised swimming organs like fins, flippers or a strong tail, these are some of the slowest animals in the world.
Being slow does not always put animals at a disadvantage. Sometimes, it is a strategy to conserve energy since speed is not needed for the animal in that ecosystem, to disguise their presence by blending in with the surroundings and lying in wait for prey to arrive. How many of these slowest animals have you seen?