Slow moving creatures

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The Slowest Animals In The World

  • The sloth is the slowest mammal on earth.
  • Land tortoises move at a speed of less than one mile per hour.
  • It would take a snail 5 days and 12 hours to move a mile.

The fastest animal on planet earth is the cheetah, it has been known to reach speeds of 75 miles per hour and can reach 69.5 miles per hour in three seconds – faster than an accelerating sports car. But what about the creatures at the other end of the spectrum? Some animals on earth barely move at all, and when they do, it seems as if they do it in slow motion. Read on to find out five of the world’s slowest animals.

5. Koala

Credit: Shutterstock image by Spill Photography    

The koala is a marsupial native to Australia. Koalas are generally solitary animals, spending most of their time in trees and eating eucalyptus leaves. As their diet is rather poor in nutrients, the koalas do not have a lot of energy to spare. They spend the majority of their time sleeping (around 16 hours per day) or simply sitting in the treetops. Though they move very slowly, when faced with a threat, the koalas can attain a speed of 18 miles per hour.

4. Tortoises

Land tortoises move at a speed of less than one mile per hour, making it one of the slowest animals on earth. One of the reasons for tortoises’ slow speeds is because of their diet; they are herbivores, so do not need to hunt or chase their food. Tortoises also have very slow metabolisms, which burn less energy. Galapagos tortoises spend a lot of their time basking in the sun or sleeping; their lack of movement combined with large internal water stores allows them to survive up to a year without eating or drinking.  

3.Garden snails

Credit: Shutterstock image by Zebra-Studio

Garden snails are nocturnal and can be found in backyards, parks, and woods. They are mostly active in the spring, summer, and fall when the weather is warm and damp. You will find them in shaded environments such as underneath rocks or leafy areas close to the ground. The snail is one of the slowest moving animals in the world; it moves at 50 yards per hour. Their lack of speed is attributed to their foot (the part of the body that extends from the shell), which in their case is one large muscle that helps them inch across the ground. When they move, they leave a trail of slime, which uses up a lot of water and energy. A snail does not need to move quickly to escape from predators as its shell helps to protect them.

2. Starfish

Starfish are very slow-moving marine animals. They typically have five arms, which are covered with suckers and pincer-like organs that help them to slowly move across the ocean floor. To the naked eye, starfish do not seem to move at all, but they have a top speed of 0.06 miles per hour. Although starfish are carnivores, the animals they eat are just as slow. They eat mussels, coral, oysters, and clams, as well as injured or dead fish.

1. Sloths

Credit: Shutterstock image by jdross75

In 2016, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison announced the three-toed sloth is officially the slowest mammal on earth. Sloths spend the majority of their time eating, sleeping, and resting in jungle treetops across Central and South America. Similar to the koala, sloths do not have a nutrient-dense diet. They have a slow metabolism to cope with their low calory intake and move very slowly to preserve their energy. As they spend most of their time curled up in trees of the jungle, they are seldom met with the threat of predators thus have no need to move quickly. On average sloths travel 41 yards per day and sleep for around 15 hours.

Steph Wright in Did You Know


Slowest Animals on the Planet


When we talk about slow, invariably the conversation will begin with the sloth. Sloths are mammals in the family Bradypodidae or Megalonychidae. They don't tend to move very much and when they do, they move very slowly. Due to their lack of mobility, they also have a low muscle mass. By some estimates, they only have approximately 20% of the muscle mass of a typical animal. Their hands and feet have curved claws, allowing them to hang (typically upside down) from trees. They do much of their eating and sleeping while hanging from tree limbs. Typically female sloths also give birth while hanging from tree limbs.

The lack of mobility in sloths is used as a defense mechanism against potential predators. They camouflage themselves in their tropical habitat to avoid being spotted. Since sloths don't move much, it has often been reported that some interesting bugs live on them and algae even grow on their fur.

Giant Tortoise

The giant tortoise is a reptile in the family Testudinidae. When we think slow, we often think of a tortoise as evidenced by the popular children's story, "The Tortoise and the Hare" where slow and steady wins the race. Giant tortoises move at a rate of less than a half a mile per hour. Although very slow, tortoises are some of the longest-lived animals on the planet. They often live beyond 100 years with some having reached over 200 years old.

The giant tortoise relies on its huge size and enormous tough shell as protection against would-be predators. Once a tortoise makes it to adulthood, it can live for a very long time as giant tortoises have no natural predators in the wild. The biggest threat to these animals is a loss of habitat and competition for food.​


Starfish ​are star-shaped invertebrates in the Phylum Echinodermata. They usually have a central disc and five arms. Some species may have additional arms but five is the most common. Most starfish don't move quickly at all, only managing to move a few inches per minute.

Starfish use their hard exoskeleton as a defense mechanism to protect against predators such as sharks, manta rays, crabs and even other starfish. If a starfish happens to lose an arm to a predator or an accident, it is capable of growing another through regeneration. Starfish reproduce both sexually and asexually. During asexual reproduction, starfish and other echinoderms are able to grow and develop into a completely new individual from a detached part of another starfish or echinoderm.

Garden Snail

The garden snail is a type of land snail in the Phylum Mollusca. Adult snails have a hard shell with whorls. Whorls are turns or revolutions in the growth of a shell. Snails don't move very fast, about 1.3 centimeters per second. Snails typically secrete mucous that helps them to move in some interesting ways. Snails can move upside down and the mucous helps them to adhere to surfaces and resist being pulled from said surfaces.

In addition to their hard shell, slow-moving snails use the mucus to protect against predators as it has a foul smell and unpleasant taste. In addition to these defense mechanisms, snails sometimes play dead when they sense danger. Common predators include small mammals, birds, toads, and turtles. Some consider snails as pests as they can feed on common foods growing in gardens or in agriculture. Other individuals consider snails to be delicacies.


Slugs are related to snails but don't typically have a shell. They are also in the Phylum Mollusca and are just as slow as snails, moving at about 1.3 centimeters per second. Slugs can live on land or in the water. While most slugs tend to eat leaves and similar organic matter, they have been known to be predators and consume other slugs as well as snails. Similar to snails, most land slugs have pairs of tentacles on their head. The upper tentacles typically have eye-spots on the end that can sense light.

Slugs produce a slimy mucus that covers their body and helps them to move around and adhere to surfaces. The mucus also protects them against various predators. Slug mucus makes them slippery and difficult for predators to pick up. The mucus also has a bad taste, making them unappealing. Some species of sea slug also produce an inky chemical substance that they excrete to disorient predators. Though not very high on the food chain, slugs play an important role in the nutrient cycle as decomposers by consuming decaying vegetation and fungi.

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The Slowest Animals In The World

What are the slowest animals in the world?

Everyone knows that the cheetah is the fastest land animal and that there are a number of extremely fast birds that can swoop on their prey at incredible speeds. But aside from the tortoise, snail, and sloth, would you be able to name any super-slow animals?

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 have no need to rush.

We’ve pulled together a selection of nature’s slowest animals below, and showcased their picture, top speed, and some interesting information about each of them. In curating this list we’ve focused on animals that do actually move. Coral, for example, are animals but they don’t move. Similarly, there are many other animals – like oysters and mussels – that live a stationary life, but we’ve not included on this list.

So, with this context in mind, here are the slowest animals known to mankind, ranked by speed:

Sea anemone – slowest animal on earth?

0.0001 km per hour

Sea anenome

A bright, slow-moving anemone

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. Whilst they rarely detach themselves from coral or rocks – preferring to hunt by waiting for fish to pass by close enough to catch – they are able to move around on their one foot, called a pedal disc.

When predation or changes to the conditions around them leads them to take a stroll, time-lapse photography has captured them moving at a pace of around one centimeter per hour. Depending on the criteria used, this could well be the slowest animal in the world!

Garden snail

0.001 km per hour

Garden snail

Garden snails – the slowest land animal in the world

According to a study of 450 garden snails (Cornu aspersum) using LED lights, UV paints, and time-lapse photography, the top speed of garden snails is around one meter per hour – or just 0.0o1 kilometers per hour.

As with slugs, all snails move using muscular contractions of their one, boneless foot, releasing a stream of mucus which turns into slime to lubricate their path forwards. Unlike slugs, snails have thick coiled shells on their backs they can retract into, meaning they have even less need for speed to avoid predators.


0.009 km per hour

Pink starfish

Pink starfish moving on the ocean floor

There are around 2,000 different species of starfish (Asteroidea) living in all of the world’s oceans, from cold seafloors to tropical waters. Although understudied, it’s known that most starfish are very slow indeed, using their wiggly tubes at the bottom of their many arms to crawl at speeds of around 15 centimeters per minute, or 0.009 km per hour.

Due to their incredibly slow movement, starfish sometimes use ocean currents to move longer distances more quickly.

Sea horse

0.015 km per hour

Hippocampus Denise

Dwarf seahorse

The dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) is a small species of seahorse found in the Bahamas and parts of the USA, and one that mates for life. It 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.

Because of their unique body shape, seahorses are unable to make much movement in the water to propel themselves, so rely instead on drifting. It’s this extremely slow movement that allows them to sneak up on prey (usually small crustacea) undetected when it then lunges to snap the prey into its mouth. A successful hunter at 0.15km per hour!

Three toed sloth

0.27 km per hour

World's slowest animal - the 3 toed sloth

A three toed sloth, everyone’s favourite slow animal!

Native to Central America, the three-toed sloth (Bradypodidae bradypus) is the slowest mammal in the world, moving at the hair raising speed of up to 2.4 meters per minute on the ground. When they’re up in their favored canopy these rainforest animals are able to pick up their speed to around a 4.6 meters per minute.

In fact, their top speed is so slow that it’s algae growing on their coats that gives them a greenish tinge. They also have the accolade that their name is a synonym of slow movement!.

Sloths have an incredibly low metabolic rate and need only a few leaves and twigs for nutrition, along with a very slow digestive system leading to their sluggish pace. In combination, the sloth’s anatomical structure differs from other mammals in having very long arms with very short shoulder-blades, which allows them a large reach without the effort of too much movement, and adds to their languid style of movement.

Giant tortoise

0.3 km per hour

Jonathan, the world's oldest tortoise

Jonathan (left), the world’s oldest giant tortoise, with a friend.

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, spending the rest of their time grazing and resting.

In the Galapagos Islands, giant tortoises walk along well-worn animal paths through the undergrowth known as “tortoise highways”. These creatures also have the distinction of being some of the longest living creatures on the planet. Perhaps it’s something to do with their pace of life!

Banana slug

0.48 km per hour

Banana slug

Bright yellow banana slug

Slugs are slow gastropod molluscs with no shell, and (perhaps because of the lack of shell) they’re usually able to beat their cousins – the garden snail – in a race. The banana slug (Ariolimax costaricensis) is an exceptionally slow slug species, however, topping out at just over 8 centimeters per minute, or 0.48 kilometers per hour.

All slugs move by propelling themselves along using muscular contractions of their one foot, secreting mucus which turns into slime to lubricate their path forwards. Banana slugs also have a mucus gland at the end of their tail which they can use to create a chord to rappel down from heights.

Slow loris

1.9 km per hour

Slow loris

The (very) slow loris

The nocturnal south-east Asian slow loris (Nycticebus) is an unusual animal, as they are the world’s only venomous primate. These creatures have toxins in their mouth and elbows, covering their fur with toxins to both deter predators and go after prey.

It’s this protection from predators that has allows the slow loris to evolve as such a slow animal, reaching just 1.9 kilometers per hour at maximum speed, and covering up to 8 kilometers over the course of a night. Like the other predators on this list, this slow-moving animal is able to strike fast when within reach of its favored insects.

Gila monster

2.4 km per hour

Gila monster

Gila monster – the slowest lizard around

Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum) are a type of venomous lizard native to southwestern USA (and the world’s slowest lizard). They’re one of the larger animals on this list of slow movers, growing up to 0.4 meters long, and have the ability to kill and consume prey up to one-third of their body size.

They live much of their time underground, resting, and store high quantities of fat in their bodies to allow them to hunt – and expose themselves to predators – less frequently. When Gila monsters do go hunting they manage to reach speeds of 2.4 kilometers per hour, so despite their size and venom they’re not much threat to humans.

Koala bear

10 km per hour

koala bear

The slow-moving koala bear

Like the sloth, the koala bear (Phascolarctos cinereus) has a high fiber/low nutrient diet and an extremely slow metabolic rate. Koalas store almost no fat in their bodies, and conserve energy wherever possibly – sleeping and moving very slowly being two key strategies. They have a great sense of smell, but extremely poor eyesight, and spend most of their time living on the trees, eating eucalyptus leaves, and not moving much.

American woodcock

26-46 km per hour

American woodstock

American woodstock – the world’s slowest bird

OK, so when talking relatively the ability to travel 46 kilometers in an hour is positively rapid compared to these other slow movers. But in the world of birds, the American woodcock is the slowest by some way, so deserves an honorable mention. Its body shape is small and chunky, spending most of its time on the ground, camouflaged in the brush and forest by their brown and grey plumage.

Animals In Epic Slow Motion Compilation Full HD

8 Slowest Animals in the World

Three-Toed Sloth

Sloths spend their days in the treetops, barely moving. Blame their lethargy on their incredibly low metabolic rate. That slow metabolism means they only need a few leaves and twigs for nutrition. They crawl at a breakneck pace of 1 foot per minute, reports National Geographic, moving so slowly that algae grows on their coats.

Although a sloth’s locomotion seems similar to other mammals, German zoologists found that their anatomical structure is quite different. They have very long arms, but very short shoulder blades. That gives them a large reach without much moving, allowing them to save energy while making the same movements as other animals.

Garden Snail

When you only have one foot, it’s difficult to move very quickly. The common garden snail has a flat, muscular organ that propels it extremely slowly along its purposeful path. To help it move, the snail releases a stream of mucus to reduce friction, reports the Dudley Zoo. That’s why you always see a trail of slime in a garden snail’s wake. A garden snail’s top speed is 1/2 inch (1.3 centimeters) per second, but it can move as slowly as about 1/10 of an inch (.28 centimeters).


Sea stars, commonly called starfish, are hard on top with many little wiggly tube feet on the bottom. Those tiny feet help the starfish grasp surfaces and move around. But they don’t move very fast. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an adult sunflower sea star can move at the whirlwind pace of one meter (about one yard) per minute using all 15,000 of its helpful tube feet.

Giant Tortoise

There are many subspecies of giant tortoises that live on various islands, but the most famous is the giant Galapagos tortoise. The largest living tortoise species, the Galapagos can live for 150 years or more. 

Charles Darwin studied the tortoises when he was on the Galapagos in 1835. He thought they moved relatively quickly. “One large one, I found by pacing, walked at the rate of 60 yards in 10 minutes, or 360 in the hour,” he wrote in Zoology Notes. “At this pace, the animal would go four miles in the day & have a short time to rest.” However, Stephen Blake, coordinator of the Galápagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Programme, tells the BBC that their turtles move a maximum of two kilometers (1.2 miles) per hour, suggesting that "Darwin was probably chasing them."

Banana Slug

There’s not a lot of agreement about which animal is the absolute slowest. But University of Eastern Kentucky biologist Branley Allan Branson voted for the banana slug to win top honors. "A large banana slug has been observed to cover 6.5 inches in 120 minutes,” he wrote. “At that rate, a tortoise would seem fleet-footed."

Banana slugs move by propelling themselves along their one muscular foot. Glands on that foot secrete dry granules of mucus which then absorb surrounding water to turn into slime. That slippery substance helps lubricate their path as they slowly crawl. The banana slug also has a mucus plug at the end of its tail which it can use to generate a bungee cord of slime to rappel down from high places.

Slow Loris

Are slow lorises really slow? For the most part, the loris is a lollygagger. The animal is mostly deliberate in its actions until it goes after prey. Then it strikes with lightning speed, it stands upright, grabbing a brand with its feet and throws its body forward to nab its prey with both hands, reports Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. 

This small animal may look incredibly cuddly and cute, but the slow loris is the world’s only venomous primate. The furry creature has toxins in its mouth and releases toxins from a gland on the side of its elbows. They spread the poisonous mix on their fur to deter predators or just go after them with a lethal bite.

Sea Anemone

Related to coral and jellyfish, there are more than 1,000 sea anemone species around the world. These colorful and interesting underwater creatures use their lone foot — called a pedal disc — and mucus secretions to attach themselves to shells, plants, rocks, or coral reefs. They rarely detach, waiting for fish to get close enough for lunch. But when they do move, their pace is about a centimeter (.04 inch) per hour. Researchers have been able to capture their movement with time-lapse photography. They typically move in response to predators or in unfavorable conditions.


Compared to some of these other animals, the manatee is relatively speedy. But considering their heft and disdain for movement, manatees are usually very slow. The gentle giant of the ocean — also known as the sea cow — can reach up to 13 feet long and weigh as much as 3,500 pounds. With that much heft, it’s no wonder that manatees are rarely in a hurry. Manatees usually move at a speed of only a couple of miles per hour. But if they really need to get somewhere, they can pick up the pace to as much as 20 miles per hour.

Manatees typically stay in shallow water. They don't really have any true predators. Sharks or whales could eat them, but because they don't live in the same water, that rarely happens. Their biggest threat is from humans. But thanks to robust conservation efforts, the West Indian manatee in Florida was removed from the endangered species list in 2017.


Creatures slow moving

Top 10 slowest animals in the world

Every animal species have some kind of specialty that makes them unique. Some animals have the power to run faster than supercars, at the same time some species are super slow in motion. Here the list of top 10 slowest animals in the world.

10 Manatee

Manatees or sea cows are one of the adorable herbivorous marine animals that can be seen in Amazon, Caribbean seas and Indian ocean. Manatees used to live in shallow water and always found to be just floating over the water rather than moving.

Actually, manatees don’t have any predators and they won’t face any harm in their lifespan. Such conditions make manatees one of the slowest animals in the world. Most of the time they engaged with eating and resting which makes them heavier in size.

9 Gila Monster

Gila monsters are one of the members of venomous lizards native to southwestern parts of the United States. They always found as hidden under the ground and others rarely get a chance to see them. The 22 inches sized Gila monster lizards have the capacity to consume meal up to one-third of their body. They are also very slow movers in nature.

Gila monsters store the fat within their body and rarely search for food. It lets them live longer time under the ground and provide with complete rest. This hidden nature keeps away the predators from them and thus it became one of the species that make least body movements.

8 Loris


Loris is medium sized primates native to south-east Asia. They have human-like hands and follows twisted like movement very slowly. Loris can only make a maximum speed of 1.2 miles per hour.

The special lumbering helps them to keep away the predators, let them live without fear. Loris is also seemed to be a poisonous mammal, one bite will inject enough venom to harm you.

7 Sea Horse

Sea Horses area special type of fish species found within the tropical waters around the world. Unlike other species of fishes, they are unable to make so much movement in water because of their mysterious body structure.

The fast movement of seas horses are limited to 0.5 miles per hour. The very slow movements of seas horses make them stay within a unique place during their lifetime.

6 Banana Slug

The banana slug is a member of gastropod mollusc with no shell at all. The movement through muscular contraction makes them one of the slowest animal species. Most of all time slugs used to lay under the ground for feeding and laying eggs. In such a way slugs completely put away movement from one place to another.

Slugs can only achieve faster movement of 0.2 miles per hour. They also have the capacity to live underground for several years in a moist condition.

5 Koala Bear

Koala bear comes under a special sub category of mammals called marsupial. It is not at all a member of bears, but it looks like bears native to Australia. The strong limbs and claws of koala bear help them to climb on trees in no time and eat leaves of trees. Kola bears are one of slowest animals because of their poor at eye sight, they spend most of the time in trees.

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Koala bears have thicky padded tails, let them to sit in trees for hours. They have an excellent sense of smell and sounds, so they recognize the predators very easily.

4 Giant Tortoise

Tortoises are vertebrate with the longest life span and known for it’s slow movement. Giant tortoises are mainly found in Seychelles and Galapagos Islands. They have a heavy body weight up to 350kg which causes for their slow movement.

The thick legs and heavy shells also responsible for ginat tortoise’s slow movement. They mainly found within wet and grass lands. They have the capacity to make larger inter storage of water and the power to live without water or food for an year.

3 Garden Snail

Garden snails or land snails is a member of terrestrial molluscs, native to Mediterranean region. Unlike slugs, garden snails have thick coiled shells which makes them so slow in movement, only a few yards in an hour.

They mostly found in wetlands, move through muscular contraction. Garden snails make hibernation for years, they also like to hide away from sunlight.

2 Star Fish

There are 2000 different species of starfishes in total, found within all oceans around the world. Interestingly starfishes can’t move long distance, used to travel along with ocean currents. Star fishes are as slow with a speed of 0.02 miles per hour.

Their star-like body structure itself causes slow movement in the ocean. Starfishes have no blood and brain, if they get cut down into pieces then new starfishes wil grow from each of those pieces.

1 Three-Toed Sloth

Three-toed sloths are the slowest animals in the world, native to America. They can only move with a maximum speed of 0.003 miles per hours. Three-toed sloths won’t move farther than 100 feet in a day, meaning that they are much tied to a unique place.

It can be said that sloths spend a major part of their life within the branches of trees, tropical rainforests of America. They used to have leaves of trees and conserve more energy through no body movements.

Animals In Epic Slow Motion Compilation Full HD

World's slowest animals prove speed isn't everything

Manatees. West Palm Beach, Florida

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Hoffmann's two-toed sloth. Colombia

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Aldabra giant tortoise. Curieuse Island, Seychelles

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Northern Pacific Seastar. Port Phillip, Australia

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Koala bear. Los Angeles, California

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Banana slug. Pescadero, California

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Slow loris. Perak, Malaysia

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Wheel Bug. Montgomery County, Maryland

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Gila Monster (bottom) and beaded lizard (top). Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Starfish. Sipadan Island, Borneo

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Starfish. San Francisco, California

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American Woodcock. Massachusetts

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Aldabra giant tortoise. Curieuse Island, Seychelles

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Banana slug. Redwood National Park, California

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Koala. Newfield, Victoria, Australia

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Gila monster

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Slow loris. Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand

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Wheel bug. Somerville, Texas, United States

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Tortoise. Galapagos Islands

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Manatee calf. Crystal River, Florida, United States

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Pygmy seahorse

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Banana slug. Patricks Point, California, United States

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<p>Three-toed sloth. Manuel Antonio, Puntarenas, Costa Rica</p> <div><div class="kno-ecr-pt kno-fb-ctx" data-ved="0ahUKEwi8oqLhk6rVAhVE2T4KHXrkB2oQ3B0IpgEoATAR" style="color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87); line-height: 1.2; margin-bottom: -3px; overflow: hidden; font-family: Roboto, arial, sans-serif; display: inline; font-size: 30px; position: relative; transform-origin: left top 0px; word-wrap: break-word; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;</div> </div>

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Garden snail. Starčevica, Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Hercegovina

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Starfish. Hull, England, United Kingdom

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Sloth. Manuel Antonio, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

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Manatees. Crystal River, Florida, United States

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Manatees. West Palm Beach, Florida

Manatees. West Palm Beach, Florida

Photograph by Sam Farkas, National Geographic Your Shot

Incredible photos show the earth's most sluggish—but maybe most determined—animals on land, air and sea.

ByHannah Lang

Published March 25, 2019

While slower animals such as sloths or turtles are famous for their sluggish pace and are unable to outrun hungry animals on the prowl, many slow-moving animals have evolutionary adaptations to avoid predators. Turtles have built-in armor in the form of their iconic shells, and slugs produce an unappetizing mucus that no one is eager to gulp down for dinner. (Read: "Inside the Strange World of Slug Sex and Slime")

Unrushed marine animals use similar defenses. While manatees only swim at five miles per hour, they are simply too big for any animal to eat. And if an animal were to try, the skin of a manatee is too tough to chew. Greenland sharks swim even slower, at a pace of only 0.76 miles per hour. Luckily, these giant creatures slowly sneak up on their prey while asleep, making a need for speed redundant.

How Does A Sloth Cross The Road? The Slowest Way Imaginable.

Dec. 7, 2016 - National Geographic contributing photographer Gabriele Galimberti captured this sloth slowly crossing a road in between Cahuita and Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica. Cars are one of the biggest dangers to sloth survival, along with habitat loss and the illegal pet trade.


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The World's Slowest Animals

Corals, Sea Sponges, Mussels

Corals, sea sponges, and mussels are a member of a group of living organisms known as sessile. The word "sessile" means that these animals survive without moving at all. Corals are invertebrates that primarily live in marine habitats existing as compact colonies of genetically identical polyps. Coral reefs reproduce asexually but also breed sexually through spawning. Coral reefs are also responsible for providing food and shelter for the other marine species, playing a significant role in biodiversity.

Banana Slug

Moving at a speed of only 0.000023 m/s, the banana slug is often regarded as the slowest animal in the world, outside of living organisms who do not move. Banana slug (Ariolimax columbianus) is a common name given to the three species of North American terrestrial slugs in the Ariolimax genus. Banana slugs are mostly yellow in color, and some have brown spots resembling a ripe banana, hence their name. Some banana slugs may also be tan, brown, white or greenish.


The dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) is a special type of seahorse species found close to the shores of the Bahamas and other regions of the US. The dwarf seahorse is the world's slowest moving fish, swimming at about 0.01mph. Dwarf seahorses tend to stay in a unique place, for that reason the species is mostly threatened by habitat loss. Unlike most of the other fish, the dwarf seahorse is monogamous and mates for life. The dwarf seahorse is rare and is among the only species of animals on earth where the male bear the offspring.


The starfish is one of the world's slowest moving animals, moving at a marginal speed of only 0.01 miles per hour on average. Often compared to land snails for their slow movements, starfish are marine animals who live in the water. Despite their name, they are not actually fish. One amazing fact about starfish is their ability to regenerate limbs - this means that if a starfish loses one of its arms, it can grow it back!

Garden Snail

Snails are notoriously portrayed as slow-moving, and there is truth to this idea. The average garden snail moves only 0.029 miles every hour! Garden snails originally come from Europe, although they can be found all over the world. Garden snails are herbivores.


Sloths are often portrayed as lazy animals who only exhibit movement when it's absolutely necessary. Truthfully, the sloth is a very slow animal. In fact, three-toed sloths generally cover a distance of only around 0.15 miles every hour! Sloths are arboreal in nature, which means that they prefer to spend most of their time in trees, descending rarely.

Giant Galapagos Tortoise

The Galapagos tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra), also known as the giant tortoise, is the longest living vertebrate in the world. At present, the giant galapagos tortoise only exists on two remote archipelagos - one in Aldabra about 435 miles east of Tanzania and the other in West Ecuador. The Galapagos tortoise is the world's slowest reptile, moving as slow as 0.23 miles per hour on land and only slightly faster in water. The giant tortoises have a heavy body with a weight of up to 770 pounds which hinders the tortoise's ability to move swiftly.

Which Animals Move The Slowest?

RankAnimalTop Speed (Miles/Hour)
2Sea Sponge0
3Mussels 0
4Banana Slug0.000023
7Garden Snail0.029
9Giant Galapagos Tortoise1
10Giant House Spider1.17
11American Woodcock5
13Gila Monster15
15Koala Bear20

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