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Slow, slower, slowest ...
Slow as a snail - this saying is true in every way, because actually counts this known mollusk among the slowest species in the animal kingdom. In order to define the animal that moves at the lowest speed, however, one must take a closer look at different animal species, because even some mammals and some sea creatures show a true snail's pace when walking, crawling or climbing.
The world's slowest mammal lives up to its name. The three-finger sloth or Bradypus tridactylus, which is native to the rainforests of South America, moves extremely slowly from branch to branch, achieving a maximum speed of just four meters per minute. If the three-toed sloth is on the ground, it is still much slower moving, because then his average speed is no more than 2.4 meters per minute. Sloths move only when they need to find a new food source. Most of the time, the predominantly vegetarian mammals with their sharp claws and their backs against the ground hang from a branch and are perfectly camouflaged in the dense treetops. Due to the low movement and their thick coat, which isolates the body heat well, they consume very little energy and therefore require only occasional food. Their balanced energy balance is associated with an extremely low metabolic rate, which is why they only have to leave the trees every two weeks to release feces and urine on the ground. All these aspects make the sloth an extremely comfortable creature that can afford to carry out all necessary activities very deliberately.
Also in the water live some animal species, which stand out by an extremely slow locomotion. The slowest fish is the seahorse, which covers just one and a half meters in one hour. To move forward, the seahorse uses more of the current than it swims. The very small fins in relation to the body, which are located on the back and the back of the head, serve primarily the control. Among the marine life, however, there are some species that move much more slowly than the seahorse.
Among the starfish, which move at an average speed of less than one centimeter per minute, the common starfish is considered the 'front runner'. However, he only manages to cover a maximum of five to eight inches in one minute. Even sea urchins can only reach a maximum speed of two centimeters per minute and are therefore among the slowest species in the world. To be able to crawl, starfish have to lift their bodies off the ground and take advantage of the water flow. Even slower are sea anemones, which are extremely stable as semi-arid animals, but are able to move on hard ground or in the sand thanks to their disc. However, they only manage a few millimeters per day. To get ahead faster, some species completely disengage from the ground, roll up the wide body, and float away from the current. In the sea, barnacles or corals also contain species of animals that will never move away from the larval stage, during which they have found an ideal location. The locomotion takes place in such animals only across generations. In such cases, the scientists speak only of the so-called propagation speed.
Among the snails known for their deliberate locomotion, the banana slug is considered the slowest member. This conspicuous yellow-colored and black-spotted nudibranch species is native to North America and at a speed of only ten centimeters an hour does not even reach what we would call a snail's pace. In comparison, the domestic snail even has to be described as fast, because it makes it at least seven meters in an hour to cover.