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The Top 5 Slowest Creatures on Earth

Updated on April 20, 2015

Slowness is not Loweness

Who's the slowest in the animal kingdom? That is the contest within this hub. Here you will find the those who walk, climb, slime and fly at the worst speeds in the animal kingdom. Some may wonder how can such a lethargicly slow creature survive? Don't the fastest and biggest survive? Not necessarily, it is the animal that adapts that ultimately survives. The examples below exhibit extraordinary instincts and adaptations to compliment their slow nature. Let's us explore them further.

A three-toed sloth

16/ft hr

The Slowest Mammal

The 3 Toed-Sloth: Bradypus

The three-toed sloth is the slowest mammal on earth. Clocking in at only .003 mph, it would take this sloth moving at full speed about 19 hours to traverse the length of a football field. By the time a running back has made a touchdown return, the poor sloth has yet to make it past the 1 yard line. It is the only living mammal known to ever have moved that slow. They get their name from their most obvious trait.

The three-toed sloth, resides in the forests of central America, and in the Amazon of South America. They feed primarily on leaves the trees to which they choose their favorite. Sloths spend most of their lives hanging effortlessly from trees only to reach the ground in order to defecate. Reasons for this could be is that they don't want to ruin their hors d'oeuvre of leaves. But for all their slowness, they have a very good reason for it: their lack of muscle. To make up for their lack of muscle, sloths must move slow and steady in order to survive. This motion of their bodies camouflages them amongst the trees hiding their helpless existence from predators.

An American Woodcock

5/mph (In the Air)

The Slowest Bird

American Woodcock: Scolopax minor

The American Woodcock, is the slowest bird in North America. During breeding season, this bird likes to float through the air without flapping its wings. It's average flight speed while performing this maneuver is 5/mph. However, when not in this flight mode it can move much faster.

Currently, these birds reside mostly in the uplands of Eastern North America. Where they inhabit grasslands and forests. The Woodcock is famous for its unusual mating dance while on the ground. During its dance, it bobs its entire body up and down while it walks. It moves pretty slowly while performing this ritual as well.

A Galápagos Tortoise

.2/mph (On Land)

The Slowest Reptile

The Galápagos tortoise: Geochelone nigra

On the Galápagos islands, lives one of largest tortoises in the world the Galápagos Tortoise. It spends most of its life in lower to mid elevations eating plants, bugs and fruit. When they travel from place to place, they form what are called tortoise highways. These are trails formed by numbers of tortoises following the same path to their destination. Galápagos Tortoises have been timed to travel up to .2 mph on land. Making them the slowest reptile on earth. However in the water, they can travel up to 1/mph. On land, to travel from nesting grounds, breeding grounds and eating grounds can take hours. But for all their size and slowness, their hard shell makes them difficult prey. Unfortunately, you can't say that about their young, who become stranded and vulnerable on the beach upon hatching. Oddly enough though, a tortoise hatchling moves faster than its full grown peers.

A Seahorse

52/ft. ph

The Slowest Fish

The Seahorse: Hippocampus

This fish one of the most bizarre but elegant creature in ocean by far. Not only swim at a crawling speed of .01 mph, which would take roughly over 3 hours to swim across an Olympic size swimming pool. With sea horses, it is the male who carries the young until their birth. The female just supplies the eggs, but the male fertilizes and incubates them.

They're slowness however, is not to their detriment. Seahorses are considered the most efficient predator in the ocean. While small and slow they may be. They're capable of capturing 90% of their prey. This is due to their ability to make hardly any alerting ripples in the water. The Seahorse's shape, size and slowness are what helps it survive. Most of their pray is already dead before they even know it. Also, their slow and smooth movements camouflage them from prey.

A Banana Slug

3.25/in ph

The Slowest Critter

The Banana Slug: Ariolimax

The Yellow Banana Slug is one of the largest slugs in the world. One of these slime balls can reach up to a foot in length. Not only are they slow, but they are extremely slimy. Slugs are very sensitive to dehydration, so it is vitally important for them to maintain a layer of mucus around them. That's why when you pour salt on a Slug they die so quickly. It's not a very pleasant way to go.The Yellow Banana Slug is a what is called a Mollusk, and it is the slowest of them all. It slimes along its way in the north west Pacific America, at 3.25 inches per hour. For a banana Slug to go across a 100 yard football field would take about 50 days at 2 yards per day. That's if the Slug didn't get lunch breaks.

And slow trophy goes to...

The Banana Slug.

The Banana Slug wins the contest by clicking in at only 2 yards per day! This makes them the most slow and slimy creatures on the planet. The trophy reward is a commemorative video of a park ranger handling a banana slug. Enjoy!


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    • profile image

      aashish 2 years ago

      too good

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      oh i thought that the snail was the slowest, banana slug, never seen one for real.