Many admire the endurance and agility of the cheetah as it chases its prey at speeds above 110 km / h. 

But there are lucky ones in the animal kingdom whose survival does not depend on their quickness. 

These slow animals lead a measured lifestyle since the environmental conditions and features of the body structure do not allow them to move at high speed. 

However, they do not need this because there is no need to pursue a victim or escape from predators. Consider the ranking of the slowest animals in the world.

Also, Read – Ugliest Animals in the World

1. Sea Horse, 0.04 cm per second

Sea Horse
Sea Horse | Image Credit – Animal Fact Guide
Scientific NameHippocampus
PhylumChordata
Size / weight1.6 to 35 cm/198.4-0.5 kg
Speed 0.04 cm per second
Found inShallow tropical and temperate saltwater throughout the world

Seahorses are slow animals due to their complex body structure that does not allow them to move much or reach incredible speeds: it is a kind of motor deficiency due to which they can only swim vertically.

Seahorses are made to stay in one place for life, and the average speed of these animals is 0.04 cm per second. 

There are over 50 seahorse species on the planet, all very slow, a feature that makes them unique. 

They have a body covered by bony armor, and they move in an upright position; they have a spiral-shaped tail and an elongated buccal tube. 

They are mainly situated in tropical and subtropical waters (seas and oceans) worldwide. 

Depending on the species, their body length ranges from 1.5 to 35 cm, and their weight is about 198- 460 grams. 

They lead a sedentary lifestyle, preferring to attach their tails to the stems of plants, from where they hunt for small shrimps and crustaceans.

A curiosity is that females transfer eggs into the male abdominal pouch, where the male fertilizes the egg and incubates them for 24 days. 

Because of their slowness, they could be easy prey as seahorses could not camouflage themselves. 

However, the seahorses can move their eyes independently in all directions, and they are also covered by numerous bone plates that protect them from various predators. 

2. Star Fish, 0.25 cm per second

Star Fish
Star Fish | Image Credit – ispot nature
Scientific NameAsteroidea
PhylumEchinodermata
Size / weight10-30 cm/ 5 kg
Speed 0.25 cm per second
Found inAll world ocean

In total, there are almost 2000 species of starfish with various shapes and speeds. The slowest of all can only move 0.25 cm per second. 

They have five arms or more and live most of the time at the bottom of the sea. Starfish can be seen in practically every ocean on Earth. 

They are not made to travel long distances, and since they are very slow, they are carried away by ocean currents in their path.

They are characterized by presenting a flattened body from which multiple arms protrude, which varies according to the species but is located between five and fifty extremities. 

These limbs have suction cups that they use to move, catch their prey, defecate and breathe. 

Due to their way of moving, these suction cups are called tube feet by locomotion.

In addition to the arms, they have a mouth located in the flattened part of the body, that is, in the center. 

Another curiosity about their morphology is that they lack blood; they use a hydraulic system that pumps water.

Starfish’s skin is composed of calcium and can have a grainy, rough, smooth texture and even rigid spines. 

Most starfish are distinguished by their bright colors ( blue, red, white ), although many species also have simple hues to blend in with the seabed.

Most starfish are carnivorous and predatory; they hunt their prey. 

Their primary food source is crustaceans, urchins, smaller fish, plankton, clams, mussels, snails, sea cucumbers, coral polyps, anemones, and, basically, any animal slow enough that they are capable of ingesting.

The stomach of these invertebrates has the quality of expelling, which means they can throw it out of the body. 

When faced with prey, the starfish surrounds it with its arms, whether they have suction cups or not, and then expels its stomach so that the target is covered in digestive juices. 

This process starts the decomposition of the victim. Then they fold their stomachs and swallow their prey.

3. Garden Snail, 1.3 cm per second

Garden Snail
Garden Snail | Image Credit – Gardening Know How
Scientific NameCornu aspersum
PhylumMollusca
Size / weightA few cm to 12 inches/ 25 to 45 gm
Speed 1.3 cm per second
Found inThe Mediterranean, western Europe, and parts of northern Africa

It is not surprising that the simple garden snail, familiar to most of us, has the status of the slowest moving animal in the world. 

The maximum speed reaches 1.3 centimeters per second (78 cm per minute or 47 meters per hour). It means that it will take her 21 hours to cover a kilometer of track. 

But this has not prevented them from reaching every place in the Mediterranean and temperate climates and from having existed continuously for more than 550 million years.

Recent studies have shown an exciting fact: snails need mucus to grip when moving on a vertical surface. 

Snails do not use slime when moving horizontally; they bend and straighten individual leg parts, like caterpillars. 

The snails lift a specific part of the leg off the ground, through which a muscle wave passes at this moment, thereby reducing friction. 

This movement allows the snails to move forward without using mucus.

The garden snail is hermaphroditic: it has both female and male organs. However, it needs another snail to fertilize.

They live in humid Mediterranean areas and like to winter for years. Although they live in gardens, they do not like sunlight very much and enjoy the excellent shade.

4. Three-Toed Sloth, 3 cm per second

Three-Toed Sloth
Three toed sloth | Image Credit – The maine campus
Scientific NameBradypus
PhylumChordata
Size / weight58-68 cm/ 3.5-4.5 kg
Speed 6.6 cm per second
Found inLowland tropical forests of South and Central America

The three-toed sloth is a tree-dwelling mammal in South and Central America. The genus includes four species. 

Three-toed sloths have earned such a name for themselves due to lethargy and slowness. However, this is not laziness but the need to save energy. 

Feeding on low-calorie leaves, they prefer to move only as a last resort. 

They sleep 15 hours a day, but even while awake, they prefer to maintain a state of rest, and if they move, then very slowly, with an average speed of 6.6 cm per second.

Sloths cannot move on the ground, relying on their paws, so they cling to the surface with their claws and pull up the body, literally crawling on their belly. 

Descending to the ground as needed, the sloth does not waste time and effort on the usual descent along the trunk but releases the branch and falls, curled up in a ball. 

They are so unhurried that they do not attempt to escape even in case of danger. 

They are saved only by their nocturnal lifestyle, as well as their excellent ability to heal severe wounds quickly, and are not susceptible to many poisons. 

All sloths have three toes on their hind legs, which end in long, curved claws. In addition, there are three toes on the front paws of these animals. 

Sloths’ fur is hard and long; due to evolutionary processes, its fur is directed to the ridge and not to the belly, like in other mammals. 

The tail is short or absent altogether. The head is rounded, the ears are small. 

The teeth of sloths are only premolar and indigenous; they grow all their lives. The neck is very mobile – sloths can turn their head 270°. 

Many sloths have microscopic algae on their skins that have a green-blue tint. 

They transfer it to the sloth’s fur, allowing them to merge with the foliage. 

In addition, moth butterflies and their eggs are found in the hairline of these animals.

Sloths have a powerful sense of smell, while other sense organs are less developed due to the underdevelopment of the brain.

5. Greenland Shark, 41.66 cm per second 

Greenland Shark
Greenland Shark | Image credit – Dive magazine
Scientific NameSomniosus microcephalus
PhylumChordata
Size / weight6.4 m/ 1000 kg
Speed 41.66 cm per second
Found inArctic and sub-arctic waters

Sharks live even in the coldest waters, but the colder the water temperature, the less rapid they become. 

It is evidenced by the Greenland polar sharks (Somniosus microcephalus). 

They have a weight of about a ton and a body length of about 6.5 m. Sharks are forced to move so slowly that it seems as if they are sleeping to conserve heat and energy. 

Polar sharks cannot reach speeds above 41.66 cm per second with all their might. Even the movement of the tail to turn these sharks takes as much as 7 seconds.

Oddly enough, these sharks prey on seals that swim twice as fast as they do. But sharks are sharks – they sneak up to sleeping seals at night and attack.

These sharks spend most of their lifetime at such depths of the ocean, which is entirely dark. 

The sun’s rays never reach, eternal night reigns here, and the water is icy cold. 

But sometimes, these sharks suddenly appear at the surface of the ocean, and then scientists observe them, studying them.

6. Loris, 55.5 cm per second

Loris
Loris sitting in a stem | Image Credit – Kidald
Scientific NameLorisinae
PhylumChordata
Size / weight20-24 cm/ 350 – 960 g
Speed 55.5 cm per second
Found inSoutheast Asia

The Loris is categorized as a nocturnal animal found in tropical regions of India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia. 

You can see the Loris slowly searching for their food at night most of the time. 

Although they move slowly, they cover long distances at night and feed on complex foods such as fruits and insects. 

It has hands identical to those of a human, and they move with the light and graceful contortionist movements. 

It is small, curious, light (weighing 350 g), and measures 20-26 cm. 

The Loris is a critically endangered primate species due to its habitat destruction and using it as a pet.

When it feels threatened, it produces a toxin that it can inject when biting. 

It moves slowly and cautiously, and its speed is about 55.5 cm per second.

7. Giant Tortoise, 76 cm per second 

Giant Tortoise
Giant Tortoise | Image Credit – Quasar Blog
Scientific NameChelonoidis niger
PhylumChordata
Size / weight1.3 m/ 200 kg
Speed 76 cm per second
Found inPacific and Indian Oceans

Tortoise were initially considered the leaders of this rating; however, they are not as slow as people think. 

The giant tortoise is the slowest representative of the order of turtles and the class of reptiles in general. 

A heavy shell, heavyweight and short, pillar-like legs will prevent the turtle from moving faster if they wanted to. 

True, they have nowhere to rush – the average lifespan of a giant turtle is about 100 years, so the speed of 76 cm per second for them may not be so low.

The turtles’ body is wide, flattened, enclosed in a bony shell, covered from the outside with horny shields or skin. 

The absence of teeth characterizes turtles – their jaws are usually covered with a horny sheath with a cutting edge (“beak”). 

The jaws are covered with horny sheaths. The eggs of most turtles are hard-covered with calcareous shells.

These giant turtles inhabit the Pacific and Indian oceans weighing up to 200 kg. 

But the fossil record points out that they were once common on continents, especially in Asia. 

The largest population of these animals is located on the atoll of Aldabra, the Indian Ocean, with around 100,000 specimens of the giant Aldabra tortoise. 

Another intriguing fact about these turtles is that studying these species present in the Galapagos has allowed Darwin to develop his evolution and natural selection theory.

8. Manatee, 139-222 cm per second

Documentary on Manatee | Video Credit – Free Documentary
Scientific NameTrichechus
PhylumChordate
Size / weight9-10 ft / 450 kg
Speed 139-222 cm per second
Found inThe Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and Africa’s west coast

The manatee is popularly known as the sea cow for its enormous weight. This herbivorous aquatic mammal inhabits the rivers and coastal regions of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and Africa’s west coast. It is also found around the Amazon Basin. 

Manatees are 2.8-3 meters long, weighing about 400-550 kg. They are pretty slow, moving at a speed of about 139-222 cm per second. 

They rarely use their fins, so they are just as lazy as sloths – they spend their days floating and hiding in marine vegetation.

Manatees have a spindle-shaped body (elongated and ellipsoid in shape) and lack hind limbs. 

Its tail is flat to be used as a paddle. The forelimbs are short and flexible and have three or four nails.

Manatee sleeps underwater and surfaces every 20 minutes for air and foraging shallow waters. 

Their reproductive cycle is quite long, and, in general, they mate only every two years, giving birth to a single young. 

These animals form an essential part of the aquatic ecosystems where they live since they contribute to maintaining the balance of the vegetation and, in addition, they act as a bioindicator of the health and quality of their environment. 

Likewise, due to their eating habits, manatees are nutrient recyclers since they transform plant biomass, making it available to a wide variety of aquatic organisms.

All species are categorized as “vulnerable” globally, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

In particular, they are in danger of extinction due primarily to anthropic activities by human activity. 

Therefore, several rescue centers or protected areas where these animals live.

9. Koala Bear, 447 cm per second

Documentary on Koalas | Video Credit – Nat Geo Wild
Scientific NamePhascolarctos cinereus
PhylumChordate
Size / weight2-3 ft / 4-15 kg
Speed 447 cm per second
Found inAustralia

The marsupial symbol of Australia, where it mainly lives, quickly climbs trees thanks to its powerful legs and sharp claws. 

Although they are large and fast climbers, they hardly ever descend to the ground and, for this reason, are considered extremely slow.

Koalas are nocturnal animals that like to take refuge in trees in Australia for a long time and are very adept at climbing. 

The back of the koala’s body is soft, and they lean against it when they sit in the trees, from which they enjoy the landscapes from a truly remarkable height. 

A curious fact is that koalas are not bears but fall into marsupial mammals.

The maximum speed with which they can locomote is 447 cm per second. 

Although they are not the slowest and can easily climb through trees, their movements are generally very sluggish. 

They like to spend most of the daytime sleeping, and when they are awake, they eat. 

Maybe these creatures are so slow because they know that, being so cute, no one would attack them.

10. Gila Monster, 667 cm per second

Gila Monster
Gila Monster | Image Credit – Wikimedia
Scientific NameHeloderma suspectum
PhylumChordata
Size / weight56 cm / 1-2 kg
Speed 667 cm per second
Found inUS Southwest and Northwest Mexico

The Gila monster is a lizard species that falls under the poisonous category. It mainly resides in the US Southwest and Northwest Mexico. 

The speed of this lizard species is relatively slow and can move at a rate of around 667 cm per second. 

Additionally, the Gila Monster Lizards are prone to low metabolism, so they are slow in terms of speed. 

They also accumulate food in their stomach, so they are the slowest animal existing on the planet. 

In addition, their poison is considered the primary weapon of combat against prey. The lizard species is listed as near threatened on the IUCN list

About 90% of their lives are spent underground in caves or rock shelters. 

The body length of an adult reaches up to 60 cm, of which about 20% is the tail (15-17 cm), which weighs 1-2 kg. 

It feeds no more than ten times a year, mainly on the eggs of reptiles and birds, as well as small mammals. An adult lizard can eat up to 35% of its body weight at a time.

Conclusion

Every creature has ownership of their life, and these creatures opted for a more leisurely and relaxed way of life. 

Being slow also has its advantages. We do not necessarily have to consider the slowness as a defect: in some cases, the animals exploit lack of speed to their advantage. 

In fact, without running, these animals save energy, are tireless, and reserve all their strength for vital activities. 

(Last Updated on March 24, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Ankur Pradhan holds a bachelor’s degree in education and health and three years of content writing experience. Addicted to online creative writing, she puts some of what she feels inside her stormy heart on paper. She loves nature, so she is trying to motivate people to switch to alternative energy sources through her articles.