Speed and movement are extremely important for all living beings. They are required to find food, run away from danger, find shelter, communicate, and travel. Speed is also often associated with a display of power and dominance.
The cheetah, for example, can use it to catch its prey. But, not all animals have to be fast and their speed can depend on their feeding habits, their environment, and their predators. Let’s take a look at the top 12 slowest animals in the world:
Top Slowest Animals on Earth
There are many animals whose speed is very slow and here’s a list of 12 of those slowest animals in the world.
1. Garden Snail
The garden snail has often been considered the world’s slowest animal. It has a large shell on its back that inhibits its movement.
Garden snails move at a speed of 1.3 cm/sec. That is approximately 47 meters in an hour. They protect themselves by receding into their shell when they sense danger.
2. Three-Toed Sloth
The sloth is native to America and is also one of the slowest animals in the world. It’s very aptly named too (Sloth means laziness). It has a speed of 2 meters per minute and moves about 100 feet in a day.
The sloth protects itself from predators by living in high tree branches. It feeds and sleeps in trees too and is likely to spend its entire life in the same place.
Starfish are known for the ability to regenerate severed limbs. They move at a speed of 2.8 meters per minute. However, they can travel much faster by using ocean currents.
In terms of speed, the starfish is mainly inhibited by the shape of its body.
4. Giant Tortoise
The giant tortoise is a large and heavy animal that can weigh up to 300 kilos. It has an extremely heavy shell.
This, along with its heavy body and large thick legs, makes it the slowest reptile on earth. It does not have any natural predators, so its lack of speed does not pose any danger.
5. Koala Bear
The Koala bear is native to Australia. Like the sloth, you’ll find it high up on a tree. It has strong limbs and a broad tail that helps it stay up in the trees for long periods. You’ll find it mostly in a Eucalyptus tree as it eats eucalyptus leaves.
Slugs are similar to snails, except they have no shell. It is one of the slow animals, and its body is shaped like a banana.
Slugs move by contracting their body. They dwell under the ground and can live in well-ventilated and moist soil for several years. It has a speed of 0.3 kilometers per hour.
7. Sea Horse
Seahorses are small marine animals that swim in an upright manner. They are named after the shape of their head and snout, which resembles a horse. Their fins are small and not very strong, which limits their movement.
They can travel at a speed of 1.5 meters per hour. Sea horses are also one of the few animals where males give birth instead of females.
8. Gila Monster
The Gila monster is another slow-moving reptile that inhabits the deserts of South Western America. It is also found in North America. Its venom is very dangerous and is considered to be a major predator.
It can reach up to 2 feet in size and weighs up to 350 to 700 grams. It does not chase its prey. Instead, it hides and waits for its prey to approach.
It can consume food up to a third of its body weight. The extra carbohydrates get stored as fats. These are utilized in the winter when food is insufficient.
The Loris is a nocturnal animal. It is also referred to as Slow Loris. It lives in South East Asia and is known as the slowest primate in the world. The Loris has hands similar to a human. It also has strong limbs.
Like the Sloth and the Koala, the Loris uses its hands and limbs to climb branches and live on trees. This helps the Loris protect itself from predators that lurk on the ground. It has large eyes and can see particularly well during the night. It can travel up to 2 kilometers per hour. The slow movement also helps the Loris save energy.
Manatees are often referred to as sea cows or dugongs. They are marine mammals that inhabit shallow waters in oceans around the world. Manatees are herbivores and they rely on underwater plants as sources of food. They weigh up to 590 kilograms and can be up to 13 feet long.
Besides their large body, their movement is also inhibited by a lack of flippers or a tail. They do not have fins as well. Like the other slow marine animals, they rely on strong water currents to carry them. This helps them move to new feeding grounds.
11. Giant Panda
Pandas are quite fast considering their size, but they are incredibly slow compared to other similarly-sized land mammals. They can walk at a speed of 1.2 to 1.8 miles/hour.
Pandas will usually travel up to 0.62 miles per day. They tend to move only when foraging for food.
12. The American Woodcock
The American woodcock is the slowest bird in the world. It’s comparatively faster than a lot of other animals in this list, but it has the slowest flying speed for a bird. It can travel up to 8 kilometers per hour.
A lot of the slowest animals in the world make up for their lack of speed and still survive by inhabiting treetops or taking advantage of their surroundings. In some cases, the lack of movement also helps them conserve energy.
Animals like the Gila monster can use this lack of speed to their advantage as it helps them blend into their surroundings.