Going fast isn’t for everyone, as the animals on this list will tell you. The world’s slowest animals aren’t in any rush. Whether they travel by land or sea, these creatures take their sweet time.
Tortoises act like they have all the time in the world, maybe because they live such a long time. The oldest tortoise is 190 years old, and most live at least 80 to 120 years in the wild.
There are several tortoise species. The giant tortoise is the largest, and it is about 3 feet tall, 4-5’ long, and weighs about 330-550 pounds.
The three-toed sloth is the slowest mammal on the planet. Sloths have an extremely slow metabolism, and their slow movements help them conserve energy. Sloths live in the tree canopy and only come down once a week to relieve themselves.
When someone tells you that you’re moving at a snail’s pace, that’s a bit of hyperbole. Since a snail’s pace is about ½” per second, snails travel at less than 0.03 mph, and it would be impossible for a human to move that slow.
The banana slug is barely faster than the snail, which people have put to the test in slug vs. snail races. Slugs are closely related to snails, as they are both gastropods, which means “stomach foot.” They use a non-Newtonian slimy liquid that helps them travel without sticking to their path.
Starfish have thousands of tiny tube feet called podia on the undersides of their bodies. They move by filling and emptying their tube feet with water at different times. Even with all those feet and legs, they only average about 0.01 miles per hour.
Gila monsters consume large quantities of food and store it in their bodies, so they only eat a few times a year. They are also venomous, and there is no antivenom for their bites, but since they move so slowly, they aren’t considered dangerous.
Slow lorises are a type of primate that lives in Southeast Asia. The loris moves about 1.2 miles per hour and protects itself from predators with a toxic bite. When threatened, lorises stop moving altogether.
Lorises are classified as Endangered Species because they are highly trafficked in the exotic pet trade. They do not make good pets, as they are nocturnal, have specialized diets, and are hard to look after.
Sea horses have many unique characteristics. They swim slowly because of their shape, but they use camouflage to ambush their prey, and they can move quickly to pounce on their food.
Sea horses also have fascinating reproductive systems. .the female seahorse lays eggs in the male’s brood pouch, and he can later give birth to thousands of baby seahorses.
The sea anemone is so slow that you have to use time lapse photography to catch it in the act of moving. Typically, sea anemones are primarily sessile, which means they stay in one spot. However, if their environment becomes unfavorable, sea anemones have one foot that they can use to find a better home.
Sessile organisms don’t move at all. Like plants, unless forces outside their control move them, they stay in one spot their entire lives. Coral reefs, sea sponges, and mussels are all sessile species.
Sessile species are one of the most likely to be negatively affected by climate change. Coral reefs are in danger because of rising sea levels and warming oceans, which contribute to coral bleaching and diseases. You can help all of the world’s slowest animals by volunteering with environmental groups to help bring awareness about the dangers of climate change on these vulnerable species.