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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.