When we are talking about the fastest animals in the world, people imagine a mighty lion chasing a jumping gazelle and an extremely fast cheetah that is as fast as a vehicle. Yes, all these animals can move very fast, it is known to all. Why not look at the reverse side of the coin? Which animal is the slowest animal in the world?
To survive in harsh environmental conditions, nature endowed different animals with different abilities. The most universal of these is movement. It is used to find food, chase after a victim or migrate in search of better living conditions. The primary task, solved by the move, is the flight from danger. For some animals, this is the only available protection ability that allows them to avoid unwanted contact.
Other species are not endowed with the ability to move quickly. They are protected by natural shelter, disguise, poisonous substances, and they don`t need high speed to survive. Such animals lead a leisurely lifestyle and move slowly. Among them, there are absolutely record-breakers for the slowest, and the tortoise is not the only animal who never rushes.
The slowest animal on Earth: top-5
Almost everyone knows that the fastest animal is the cheetah. But which is the slowest? Below is a list of the five slowest animals in the world.
These animals do not hurry anywhere. While the antelopes are racing along the savannah, the squirrels and caresses flash through the branches, and the kangaroos with their footsteps gallop along the bush, these animals spend their time in a half-asleep condition in the crowns of trees. Most of the time koalas spend at rest, sleep or sit perfectly tranquilly, moving only with jaws. This is the payment for the opportunity not to compete with other animals for food resources, feeding on poisonous leaves of eucalyptus.
So why are koalas so slow? Koalas cannot eat too much eucalyptus leaves, because they are poisonous. So the animals eat the leaves in very small quantities and in such a way, toxins don`t accumulate in their bodies in large quantities. The koala rarely eats more than half a kilogram of leaves, which is not enough for a herbivore weighing more than 10 kilograms. Since the leaves are poorly nutritious, koalas need to preserve their energy, so they do not make unnecessary movements.
As a result, the koala eats and digests slowly, all its metabolism is hugely inhibited. Leaves are very carefully chewed, relying on the gruel, which accumulates in the cheek pouches.
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These beautiful inhabitants of our planet live in seas and oceans. They can live only in salt water. Starfish live even in northern waters, despite the low temperatures. Although there are a lot of starfish in the warm seas. Mainly, the starfish is a shallow animal, although among the representatives of this species there are also deep-sea inhabitants. Sometimes starfish can be met at a depth of more than 9000 meters.
These animals move on the bottom very slowly - only 10 centimeters per minute. If necessary, the starfish can "add speed" and "accelerate" to 30 centimeters per minute.
Despite the natural beauty and attractiveness, a starfish is a real predator. It feeds on worms, molluscs, and small invertebrates. Besides, some starfish can eat plankton and detritus.
The turtle closes the top three finalists. Turtles have a shell, which serves them excellent protection from predators. But because of the massive weight of this shell, the turtles move very slowly, and so the turtle is called one of the slowest land animals. Although, there are even slower animals. We will talk about them a bit later.
Even in a height of passion, the male gets to the female at a speed of no more than 0.37 km/h. At the same time, the fastest of turtles, that is leathery, escaping from enemies, develops speeds of up to 35 km/h.
Giant Galapagos tortoise is the slowest turtle in the world. Its low speed is connected to the size of this creature. Carapace - the shell can reach a length of 106 cm, and weight up to 120 kg. This turtle has massive legs and a small head. The duration of its life is from 150 to 250 years. The slowest turtle feeds on island dwarf vegetation.
The speed of turtles is very difficult to measure, as they always stop in search of food, therefore, in addition to the generally recognized slowest giant turtles, new applicants for this title are continually appearing. So, scientists managed to fix the speed of the California desert tortoise-gopher, which moves on average at a speed of 0.22-0.48 km/h.
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In one step from the victory is a snail. The phrase "crawling like a snail" (meaning "slow") is widespread in everyday life. Such a comparison is entirely deserved because snails are considered one of the slowest animals on Earth.
The low speed is not the only thing associated with the snail. The second such thing is slime. Recent studies have shown an interesting fact that slime is needed for grip only when crawling on a vertical surface. Moving horizontally, the snails don`t use mucus, they bend and straighten the individual legs, like caterpillars. Snails tear off a specific leg area through which at that moment a powerful wave passes, thereby reducing friction. It is this movement that allows snails to move forward without using mucus.
According to different sources, snails move at speed between 0.048 and 0.1 km/h. Even in comparison with snail's size and weight - it's very slow. To find the exact answer to the question, what is the speed of snails? We decided to find a usual snail and watch the sluggish snail's movements to find out the speed of this slow animal.
We have found a snail, took a ruler, and spotted the time. It turned out that for 1 minute the snail crawled 6 cm. It means that the speed of this particular snail was 0.36 km/h. We have found out that it is the top speed of the snail. It means that it was in a hurry. In the south, in the gardens and orchards, you can easily find a small grape snail and repeat our experiment. Feel free to share your experience with other readers and us in the comments below.
As it turned out, the slowest animal in the world and slower than a snail is recognized as a sloth not only in the pace of its movement but also in the way of life, which is underlined by its name.
Sloths spend their whole lives on a tree in limbo. Choosing a tree, the animal hangs upside down with one of its branches. In this position, the animals stay awake, sleep, and eat. The sloth leaves its tree only when it needs to move to another, which is extremely rare. Most often they tear off the paws from the branch and fall, curled together.
Being sleepy, the animals spend 15 hours a day, so they climb into the twilight thickets and jungles. The sloth moves at a speed of 2 meters per minute, it turns to be 0,12 km/h. Therefore, it is complicated to escape when the animal is in danger. Most often, a sloth doesn't even try to get away from it. Because of the naive way of life, the animal completely lacks the instinct of self-preservation.
The woody leaves with which the sloth feeds are digested in its stomach the whole month. Sloth is slow even in this, the animal does not need too much energy. Because of the almost motionless way of life, the algae grow in the wool of the animal, which makes the colour of the sloth green. This colour helps sloth to be inconspicuous among the deciduous forests.
The cubs of the sloth for the first few months depend entirely on the mother since they hang on it and feed on the mother's milk. If a small sloth suddenly fell, it's mother would not even notice it. So to remind the mother about itself, the newborn animal has to make screams to be noticed.
The sloth sleeps all day, but with the onset of the night it awakens and begins to move slowly from branch to branch in search of food and water. The animal widely places its paws when walking. With this limb, it moves in circular motions, leaning on the elbow joints.
Compared to a sloth, the turtle is a sprinter!
There are animals that cannot move quickly because of the characteristics of their structure, lifestyle or habitat conditions. Many of them are not easy prey despite the fact that they move very slowly.
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