Whilst speed is a matter of life or death to many predators and prey, there are plenty of other species that enjoy an altogether different pace of life. Some creatures are simply not in a hurry and have evolved to not need to rush. Some of these slowest creatures include the likes of Sea Anemones, Garden Snails, Starfish, Sea Horse, and the three-toed sloth amongst others.
Here today, I will be writing extensively on the slowest animals in the world, known to mankind, ranked by their speed. I will also look at the fascinating world of these unhurried creatures, providing you with interesting information about each of them, so, let’s get our hands dirty doing the job.
Top 10 Slowest Animals In The World
1. Sea Anemone
- Speed: 0.0001 km per hour
The sea anemone family (Actiniaria) is related to coral and jellyfish, and with over 1,000 species, sea anemones come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. While they prefer to wait for fish to pass by to catch their prey, they can move around on one foot, called a pedal disc.
Sea anemones mostly stay attached to coral or rocks but can move around using a pedal disc. Time-lapse photography has captured them moving at a pace of around one centimeter per hour, making them one of the slowest animals in the world.
2. Garden Snail
Garden snails (Cornu aspersum) move using muscular contractions of their one, boneless foot, releasing a stream of mucus which turns into slime to lubricate their path forwards. They usually avoid predators with their thick coiled shells. Their top speed is just around one meter per hour, making them the slowest land animal on Earth.
There are around 2,000 different species of starfish (Asteroidea) living in all of the world’s oceans. Although understudied, most starfish are very slow, crawling at speeds of around 15 centimeters per minute or 0.009 km per hour using their wiggly tubes at the bottom of their many arms. They sometimes use ocean currents to move longer distances more quickly.
4. Sea Horse
The dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) is recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the slowest-moving fish, with a painful top speed of about 150 centimeters per hour. They rely on drifting due to their unique body shape, allowing them to sneak up on prey undetected before striking fast.
5. Three-Toed Sloth
Native to Central America, the three-toed sloth (Bradypodidae Bradypus) is the slowest mammal in the world. They move at a hair-raising speed of up to 2.4 meters per minute on the ground, and their top speed increases to around 4.6 meters per minute when they’re up in their favored canopy in the rainforest. Their greenish tinge is due to algae growing on their coats.
6. Giant Tortoise
Some populations of the Giant Tortoise can be found in the Galapagos Islands, where they are among the longest-living creatures. Giant tortoises (Chelonoidis nigra) don’t usually move more than a couple of kilometers each day, and it’s easy to understand why when their top speed is just 0.3 kilometers per hour, and their shells are so heavy. They tend to walk around between their feeding areas in the early morning or late afternoon. The Giant Tortoise don’t usually travel long distances.
7. Banana Slug
The banana slug (Ariolimax costaricensis) is an exceptionally slow slug species, topping out at just over 8 centimeters per minute, or 0.48 kilometers per hour. They move by propelling themselves along using muscular contractions of their one foot, secreting mucus which turns into slime to lubricate their path forwards. The Banana slug also has a mucus gland at the end of its tail, which it can use to rappel down from heights.
8. Slow Loris
The nocturnal southeast Asian slow loris (Nycticebus) is the world’s only venomous primate. Reaching just 1.9 kilometers per hour at maximum speed, they can cover up to 8 kilometers throughout the night. This slow movement allows them to strike fast when within reach of their favored insects. The slow loris uses toxins to deter predators and capture their prey.
9. Gila Monster
Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum) are a type of venomous lizard native to the southwestern USA. They manage to reach speeds of 2.4 kilometers per hour when hunting, despite their size and venom. Gila Monsters store high quantities of fat in their bodies to hunt less frequently. They are not much of a threat to humans despite their size and venom.
10. Koala Bear
The Koala Bear (Phascolarctos cinereus) has an extremely slow metabolic rate and moves very slowly, spending most of its time living in trees, eating eucalyptus leaves, and not moving much.
Koala Bears spend most of their time living on trees. They have a high fiber/low nutrient diet and are known for their slow-paced and energy-conserving lifestyle.
In the animal kingdom, speed isn’t everything. These slow-moving creatures have adapted to their unhurried lifestyles, and their unique traits make them fascinating subjects of study. From the sea anemone to the koala bear, each of these animals has its special way of surviving and thriving in its environment.
Next time you encounter a snail or spot a starfish, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of these slow-paced wonders of nature. They remind us that not everything in life needs to be rushed, and sometimes, taking it slow can lead to remarkable adaptations and longevity.