Every animal species has a distinctive trait that sets them apart. While certain animal species are quite sluggish moving, others possess the ability to run quicker than supercars. Speed is the trait of an animal that is vital for its survival. If the animal is fast enough there is a chance it’ll surpass the chasing predators. Everybody talks about the speedy and fastest animals and turns their eyes when it comes to our slowest fuzzy friends. But no need to worry! Today we bring you the world’s most lazy and slow animals you may not know about.

List of the World’s Most Sluggish Animals

Here we have put together a list of the world’s most sluggish and lethargic creatures, who turned their slower speed into a catalyst for their survival. Let’s learn about these creatures and their other unique and enigmatic traits that’ll leave you wondering:

No.AnimalSpeed (mph)ClassificationRegion Mostly Found
1Three-Toed Sloth0.003MammalAmerica (Tropical Rainforests)
2Star Fish0.02EchinodermOceans Worldwide
3Garden SnailFew yards per hourMolluscMediterranean Region
4Giant TortoiseVaries (0.18-0.5)ReptileSeychelles, Galapagos Islands
5Banana Slug0.2MolluscUnderground, Moist Environments
6Sea Horse0.5FishTropical Waters Worldwide
7Loris1.2PrimateSoutheast Asia
8Gila Monster1.5ReptileSouthwestern United States
9Manatee30MammalAmazon, Caribbean Seas, Indian Ocean
10Koala Bear30MarsupialAustralia

1. Three-Toed Sloth – 0.003 mph

Three-Toed Sloth

Native to America, three-toed sloths are the slowest mammals on the planet. Their fastest possible speed is limited to 0.003 miles per hour. Three-toed sloths are highly specialized and will only travel a distance of 100 feet in a single day. One may argue that sloths live the majority of their lives in the tropical jungles of America, hiding among tree limbs. They used to have tree leaves and would save more energy by not moving their bodies. Moreover, sloths are the undisputed champions of pull-ups, lifting their entire body weight with one arm since birth. Despite having 30% less muscle mass than similar-sized mammals, they are over three times stronger than humans. Their unique muscle arrangement and lack of cone cells in their eyes result in color blindness and poor night vision. Sloths have a slow metabolism, with a large, permanently full stomach that can account for up to 30% of their body mass.

TraitDetails
NameThree-Toed Sloth
Speed0.003 mph
ClassMammal
RegionTropical Rainforests (Central and South America)
Lifespan30-40 years
Heart Rate20-30 beats per minute
Special TraitExtremely slow metabolism only needs to go to the bathroom once a month

2. Star Fish – 0.02 mph

Star Fish

Every ocean on the planet is home to more than 2000 distinct species of starfish. It’s interesting that starfish, which follow the waves in the water, are unable to sustain long-distance mobility. With a speed of just 0.02 miles per hour, starfish are equally sluggish. The sluggish movement in the water is caused by their star-like body shape. Because starfish lack blood and brains, if they are broken apart, new starfish will develop from each fragment. Starfish, also have an impressive average lifespan of 35 years.  Not all starfish have five arms, and some species can have up to 40 arms. They can only survive in saltwater and are unable to live in freshwater. Starfish can regenerate lost limbs, and they turn themselves inside out to eat clams, shells, and mussels. When they eat, their stomachs exit their mouths to digest food and then re-enter their bodies, kinda weird yet it’s something that sets them apart.

TraitDetails
NameStarfish
Speed0.02 mph
ClassEchinoderm
RegionOceans worldwide
Lifespan10-20 years
Heart RateNo true heart, simple nerve net controls water flow
Special TraitCan regenerate limbs!

3. Garden Snail – A few yards per hour

Garden Snail

Native to the Mediterranean region, garden snails, sometimes known as land snails, are a kind of terrestrial mollusk. Unlike slugs, garden snails travel very slowly—just a few yards in an hour—due to their thick, coiled shells. They move by contracting their muscles, and they mainly live in marshes. In addition to hibernating for years, garden snails like to remain hidden from sunlight.

Moreover, Snails are often overlooked creatures, but there are actually over 40,000 distinct species of them around the world, varying in size, color, and habitat. Some species of snails can live in seawater, freshwater, or on land, with the largest species, the giant African land snail, reaching over 15 inches in length. The smallest snail in the world, the Acmella nana, is microscopic, measuring less than 0.03 inches in size, and found in Borneo.

TraitDetails
NameGarden Snail
SpeedFew yards per hour
ClassMollusc
RegionMediterranean Region and worldwide
Lifespan3-5 years
Heart Rate50-60 beats per minute
Special TraitHas four tentacles, two with eyes and two without

4. Giant Tortoise – Varies (0.18-0.5 mph)

 Giant Tortoise

Given their reputation for moving slowly, tortoises are the longest-living vertebrates. The Galapagos Islands and Seychelles are the primary locations for giant tortoises. Their delayed locomotion is a result of their large 350 kg body weight. The giant tortoise’s sluggish locomotion is partly a result of its large shell and thick legs. Their main habitats are grasslands and damp areas. They can create greater water storage systems like camels and can survive for a year without food or water. Tortoises may live anywhere from 80 to 150 years on average. It is known that a few specific species may live up to 250 years. And the reason for their long average lives is their slower heart rate.  Its average heartbeat is about twenty-five beats per minute. Take away the oxygen, and the heart rate falls to 10 beats per minute after six hours. That turtle‘s oxygen-starved heart rate will decrease to a very low one beat per minute if it is cooled. However, the tortoise will still live!

TraitDetails
NameGiant Tortoise
Speed0.18-0.5 mph
ClassReptile
RegionSeychelles, Galapagos Islands
Lifespan100-150 years
Heart Rate30-40 beats per minute
Special TraitCan sniff food from miles away!

5. Banana Slug – 0.2 mph

Banana Slug

The banana slug is a kind of gastropod mollusk that lacks any kind of shell. They are among the slowest animal species due to their mobility caused by muscle tension. Slugs used to usually drop their eggs and feed beneath the earth. The way slugs migrate from one place to another absolutely eliminates movement. The fastest the Slugs can move is only 0.2 miles per hour. They may also survive for many years in a damp environment underground.

Banana slugs are extremely slow-moving, with some moving as little as 4.6 inches per minute. They use their mucus plug to slow their pace when descending from trees and tall plants. The slime covering the slugs also serves as a defense mechanism, containing chemicals that act as an anesthetic to numb their deadly predators. During periods of heat and dryness, banana slugs enter a state of estivation, burying themselves in leaf litter and covering themselves in slime. They also hibernate during extreme cold weather.

TraitDetails
NameBanana Slug
Speed0.2 mph
ClassMollusc
RegionUnderground, Moist Environments (North America)
Lifespan7 years
Heart RateNo true heart, simple pulsating circulation
Special TraitCan slime up to 4 times their body length!

6. Sea Horse – 0.5 mph

 Sea Horse

Sea horses are a unique kind of fish species that may be found worldwide in tropical environments. Seahorses eat constantly, consuming up to 30 meals per day, despite their lack of teeth and stomachs. Their snout acts as a feeding tool, allowing them to efficiently consume small shrimp and other crustaceans. They can eat up to 3,000 brine shrimp per day and also enjoy plankton. Due to the mystery surrounding their bodily composition, they are less mobile in the water than other fish species. Sea horses can only move at a speed of 0.5 miles per hour. Sea horses live their entire lives in a unique spot due to their extremely sluggish movements.

See more: List of Most Dangerous Animals on Earth

TraitDetails
NameSeahorse
Speed0.5 mph
ClassFish
RegionTropical Waters Worldwide
Lifespan5-10 years
Heart Rate50-70 beats per minute
Special TraitThe male gets pregnant!

7. Loris – 1.2 mph

Loris

Native to southeast Asia, loris are medium-sized primates. They move slowly and have hands that resemble those of a person. Loris’s top speed is limited to 1.2 miles per hour. Their fur is soft and dense, often coming in shades of gray, brown, or reddish-brown. One of their unique features is the presence of a grooming claw on the second toe, which they use for careful grooming.

Lorises are creatures of the forest who spend most of their time in trees. They move carefully and slowly, and their human-like hands have a strong grasp, allowing them to easily climb branches. The Loris‘ deadly bite is one of its most fascinating traits. They have glands in the elbow that produce a toxin, and when threatened, they may mix the toxin with their saliva and deliver a venomous bite. 

TraitDetails
NameLoris
Speed1.2 mph
ClassPrimate
RegionSoutheast Asia
Lifespan15-20 years
Heart Rate50-100 beats per minute
Special TraitHas the slowest venom of any mammal!

8. Gila Monster – 1.5 mph

 Gila Monster

Among the poisonous lizards common to the southwestern regions of the United States are Gila monsters. They are almost never seen by anyone as they are always discovered hidden beneath the earth. The 22-inch-long Gila monster lizards may fill up to one-third of their bodies with food. In nature, they move quite slowly as well. Gila monsters don’t often look for food; instead, they store fat within their bodies. It enables them to stay underground for a longer period of time and offers them total repose. Because of their hidden nature, which keeps predators at bay, they have evolved into one of the species with the fewest movements.

Despite their sluggish movements and infrequent meals, Gila monsters are surprisingly long-lived creatures. In captivity, they can reach up to 40 years old, and even in the wild, they’re estimated to live for 20-30 years. Their slow-moving lifestyle means they burn energy at a low rate, reducing wear and tear on their bodies. 

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TraitDetails
NameGila Monster
Speed1.5 mph
ClassReptile
RegionSouthwestern United States
Lifespan20-30 years
Heart Rate20-40 beats per minute
Special TraitHas two venom glands, one on each jaw!

9. Manatee – 30 mph

Manatee

Manatees, also known as “sea cows,” are large, fully aquatic mammals that belong to the order Sirenia. They have a strong body with flippers and a tail that resembles a paddle that they use for propulsion. They have a unique look because of the thick, wrinkled skin that is often covered with algae which seems a little gross. Manatees are usually found in the Amazon River, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Indian Ocean, and other warm, shallow coastal waterways. Being herbivores, they graze on seagrass and other aquatic plants, and because of their lazy gait, they may eat an enormous amount of food per day. Manatees are threatened by human activities like as boat crashes, habitat degradation, and tangling in fishing gear, even though their existence is generally safe. Their continuous depletion has alerted the animal life endangerment authorities and organizations. Therefore, important steps are being taken to conserve their species.

TraitDetails
NameManatee
Speed30 mph
ClassMammal
RegionAmazon, Caribbean Seas, Indian Ocean
Lifespan60-80 years
Heart Rate20-30 beats per minute
Special TraitFarts underwater!

10. Koala Bear – 30 mph

Koala Bear

The koala bear belongs to a unique subclass of mammals known as marsupials. Although it does not belong to the bear family, it does resemble an Australian bear. The koala bear’s powerful limbs and claws enable them to quickly climb trees and eat their leaves. Due to their limited vision, koala bears are among the slowest mammals; they spend much of their time in trees. Because of their large tail pads, koala bears may spend hours sitting and hanging on trees. They easily recognize the predators because of their keen sense of smell and hearing. There is only one species of koala, the Phascolarctidae, with an estimated 300,000 mature individuals worldwide. However, their population is declining due to various threats. Koalas are often referred to as “koala bears,” but they are not closely related to true bears.

They are marsupial species (a mammal that belongs to an order whose members are usually carried and breastfed in a pouch on the mother’s abdomen and are born partially formed) and their young, known as joeys. Koalas are not very social therefore they prefer solitary in the wild and have a home range that can overlap with other koalas. Despite being territorial, they can tolerate other koalas during the breeding season.

TraitDetails
NameKoala Bear
Speed30 mph
ClassMarsupial
RegionAustralia
Lifespan10-15 years
Heart Rate70-130 beats per minute
Special TraitThey sleep for up to 20 hours a day!

Conclusion

The animal kingdom is beaming with millions of species, some we know, many we don’t. Each family or classification has a different set of traits that sets them apart from the rest. Their specific features define their lifestyles and life spans. Today we have discussed the slowest of them to exist. Although slow speed is not hailed as a strength it is responsible for their relatively longer lifespans than others. Scientific studies have shown that the slower the heart rate, the longer the life span will be. Among them, the title of the slowest animal goes to the Three-Toed Sloth. With an incredibly leisurely pace of just 0.003 miles per hour. However, if we talk about the longer life spans, well the giant tortoise wears that crown. Where most of us may consider the slow speed as a sign of weakness, it is, however, responsible for their much longer lives, even in extreme conditions.

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