Things That Are Slow

Welcome to our list of things that are slow!

Slow is a relative measure of how long something takes to happen. It can also be a very subjective description – something that seems slow to one person could be fast to someone else. We’ve tried to include things that are generally accepted to be slow things, mostly including animals and experiences. We hope we’ve covered what you’re after in our list of things that are slow!

Here’s a visual list of things that are slow:

Hopefully that visual list of slow things was useful! Here’s a longer and more descriptive list of things that are slow:

  • Tectonic Plates: Sections of the Earth’s crust that can move around the Earth and form mountains and volcanoes.
  • Tortoise: A heavy, slow-moving reptile species known for its long life and tough shell.
  • Sloth: A mammal noted for its slowness. Has long, shaggy hair and lives in trees.
  • Turtle: Reptiles known for their patterned shell. Similar to tortoises, but can swim as well. Very slow on land.
  • Loris: A type of primate known for their large eyes and slow movement.
  • Banana Slug: Terrestrial slugs which commonly have bright yellow bodies.
  • Giant Galapagos Tortoise: The largest living species of tortoise. Can weigh up to 417 kilos and moves extremely slowly.
  • Sea Anemone: Predatory marine animals that look like a flowering plant.
  • Jellyfish: Also known as sea jellies. A type of soft, gelatinous creature with an umbrella-shaped bell and long tentacles.
  • Snail: A small, squishy mollusc with a thin shell.
  • Starfish: Star-shaped marine invertebrates.
  • Glacier: A dense body of ice that moves through water very slowly.
  • Snail Mail: Physical mail is considered very slow (and expensive!) compared to email.
  • Manatee: Although manatees can manage quick bursts of speed, their general speed is very slow and lumbering.
  • Seahorse: Due to their swimming pattern (using a tiny dorsal fin) seahorses can only reach a top speed of around 1.5m per hour.
  • Gila Monster: Large reptiles that have a top speed of 1.6km per hour.
  • American Woodcock: A bird with the slowest flight speed at 8km per hour.
  • Eurasian Woodcock: A bird that shares the slowest flight speed with the American Woodcock.
  • SmartForTwo: The world’s slowest smart car with a top speed of 135km per hour.
  • The Slowest Marathon Time: The record for world’s slowest marathon time was completed by Shiso Kanakuri at 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds.
  • Elephant: Known for their slow, lumbering gait. While elephants can run, their speed is slow is around 16 kilometres per hour.
  • Queue: Waiting in a queue can subjectively feel like a long time, especially if you’re tired, hungry, or waiting for something that isn’t particularly exciting.
  • Plants Growing: Waiting for a plant to grow, spring a new leaf, or recover from damage can feel like a long time.
  • Moon Phases: Each lunar phase lasts fifteen days and can feel like a long time to pass.
  • Labour: While childbirth can vary greatly in length, it can last 36 hours or even longer – which is a huge amount of time to be in such pain and discomfort.
  • Dial-up Internet: A largely obsolete way of accessing the internet which is now considered very slow and cumbersome.
  • Blue Whale (heart): Blue whales have the largest and slowest heart of any animal. It can beat as slowly as twice per minute during a dive.
  • Mouse: A mouse is considered to have a rather slow speed, with a top speed of around 8.1 miles per hour.
  • Pig: Domestic pigs are slower runners than wild pigs, with a top speed of around 11 miles per hour.
  • Eastern Grey Squirrel: Als known as just the grey squirrel. A type of tree squirrel with a slow top speed.
  • Northern Pacific Seastar: Also known as the Japanese common starfish. Preys on large molluscs and is the prey of other, larger starfish.
  • Swallowtail Butterfly: Large, colourful butterflies that have the slowest wingbeat at 300 beats per minute.
  • Polar Bear: A type of bear with white fur that has a slow average walk.
  • Brown Bear: A type of bear with a slow walk but a quick run (in short bursts).
  • African Bush Elephant: A large land mammal with a very slow reproductive rate.
  • House Sparrow: A small bird with pale brown and grey colouring.
  • Greenland Shark: A very long-lived shark which is considered to be a living fossil. A very slow-moving shark.
  • Human: Compared to other mammals, humans are very slow movers and have a top speed of almost 28 miles per hour.
  • Pygmy Seahorse: Also known as a dwarf seahorse. Known as the slowest-moving fish with a top speed of around 1.5 metres per hour.
  • Wheel Bug: A type of large assassin bug with a slow average speed.
  • Watching Paint Dry: Paint can take a long time to dry, depending on the paint. People usually are referring to house paint in this saying, which can take up to 24 hours to cure.
  • Watching A Kettle Boil: Even though water boils relatively quickly, it can subjectively feel like a long time when you’re waiting.
  • Waiting for an E-mail Reply: When you’re waiting and anticipating a reply, waiting for an email response can feel like a long time.
  • Oil Painting: Since oil paints don’t dry by evaporation (but by oxidation), they take a very long time to cure – up to six months.
  • Incense Burning: A single incense stick can burn for around 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the length and thickness of the stick.
  • Candle Burning: Depending on the size of the candle, they can burn for up to 40 hours. Smaller candles can burn for around 6-8 hours.
  • Making Kimchi: Since kimchi is a fermented food, it takes a few days for the vegetables to break down and be ready to eat.
  • Making Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is a fermented food, which takes a few days minimum to cure and prepare.
  • Kefir: Kefir generally takes around 12 to 24 hours to form.
  • Tempeh: Apart from the food prep and cooking time, it takes between 24 and 48 hours for soybeans to grow the bacteria required for tempeh.
  • Kombucha: Making kombucha is a very lengthy process – making the scoby (bacteria starter, which takes 1-4 weeks), first fermentation (6-10 days) and second fermentation (3-10 days).
  • Natto: The fermentation process for natto takes around 22-24 hours.
  • Miso: Making miso takes a very long time! You need to soak soybeans for 18 hours, cook the soybeans for 3-4 hours, then store the miso for 6 months.
  • Yoghurt: Yoghurt needs around 8 hours to set, depending on the type you’re making.
  • Exams: While an exam may take only 2-3 hours, that time feels very long and the prep time involved could be a few months or an entire year.
  • Waiting for Medical Results: Waiting for commonly stressful or worrisome things makes the time seem much longer.
  • Travel: The uncomfortable nature of travel, lack of sleep, and adjusting to a different timezone can make travelling feel like a long and gruelling process. Some flights can even take up to 14 hours!
  • Child-Rearing: Raising a child doesn’t just stop after the child becomes a legal adult, and your efforts are needed even when the child is away from you or asleep. That’s 20+ years of almost non-stop effort, time and care.
  • Emotional Maturation: It takes a lot of time and different things for us to mature emotionally, and if we aren’t fortunate enough to be provided with the environment that we need, it can take even longer.
  • Gestation: Gestation (for humans) generally takes around 9 months, which is a very long time for the pregnant mother.  
  • Withdrawal: This is the term for the adjustment period the body goes through after an addict quits their form of addiction. Different addictions will have different withdrawal times and symptoms.
  • Recovery: After withdrawal, an addict isn’t cured. The recovery and process of sustainably healing from an addiction takes years, and it’s common to relapse in that time.    
  • Taxes: Doing your taxes is a commonly unenjoyable, stressful and time-consuming activity.  
  • Learning a New Skill: Depending on your current knowledge and skills, acquiring a new skill can be very time-consuming. It can take weeks or months to become comfortable with a new skill, and years to “master” it.  
  • Quitting a Bad Habit: Bad habits are not necessarily addictions, and since they’re so ingrained in our daily lives, it takes a long time to retrain your body out of performing these actions (usually months).  
  • Growing out Hair: Hair tends to take months to noticeably grow.  
  • Therapy: The process of taking care of your mental health with the aid of a trained professional. Depending on your mental health state and resources, this can take months or years. Mental health is more about “management” rather than “curing”.  
  • Chess: Chess can seem like a very slow game to those who are viewing rather than participating.  
  • Slow Games: These are games that are slow in pace rather than focused on instant gratification.
  • Stop Motion Animation: The process of stop-motion animation is very laborious and time-consuming. It can take hours to make a few seconds worth of animated movement.
  • Shooting a Time Lapse Video: A time-lapse video is made up of still photos. It takes a very long time to collect these still photos and then collate them into a moving image.    
  • “As Slow As Possible” by John Cage: This musical piece takes around 20 to 70 minutes to perform, but is part of a performance that is planned to have a length of 639 years, ending in 2640. 
  • Basset Hound: Basset hounds are both slow to move and slow to obey commands.  
  • Bulldog: Wrinkly dogs that are typically slow moving.
  • Daschund: Since daschunds have such short legs and long backs, they tend to be slower moving (even if their legs are working hard!) 
  • Old English Mastiff: A large dog that is slow to mature (both physically and mentally).
  • St. Bernard: Large, sweet dogs which are slow to learn.
  • Sussex Spaniel: A slow-paced, relaxed breed of dog. 
  • Clumber Spaniel: A dog which is slow-moving, but with a good nose and stamina.
  • Bullmastiff: A large dog with slow, lumbering movements.
  • French Bulldog: An affectionate dog that are slow to learn and train.  
  • Great Dane: A large dog with a slow metabolism.
  • Chow Chow: A very fluffy dog which is slow-moving and prone to elbow and hip problems.  
  • Pug: Pugs are small dogs which are slow to train, but popular as a companion as they’re soft and cute.  
  • Bonsai: Bonsai are miniature, slow-growing trees.  
  • Asparagus: It takes around three years to grow asparagus from seed to harvest.
  • Parsley: Parsley is a slow starter to grow for a herb. It can take up to 3 weeks for the plants to sprout.  
  • Okra: Okra plants take about two months to be ready to pick.   
  • Chewings Fescue: A type of grass that takes 14 days to germinate.
  • Creeping Red Fescue: A type of grass that takes about 12-22 days to germinate.  
  • Ariocarpus: A cactus that can grow in about five years.
  • PZL M-15: The world’s slowest jet.
  • Tar Pitch: A thick, viscous, slow-moving material. Used in making roads and pathways.
  • Honey: Thick, viscous and slow-moving. Used as a sweetener. 
  • Fahrradi Farfalla FFX: The world’s slowest supercar.      
  • Eric Moussambani: The slowest swimmer to win an Olympic race.
  • Shuckle: A slow-moving pokemon that resembles a turtle/tortoise.
  • Munchlax: A baby pokemon with a low speed stat. 
  • Pyukumuku: The pokemon tied with Munchlax and Shuckle for the lowest base speed stat.
  • Snorlax:  A large pokemon known for its slow, lumbering movements and sleepiness.
  • MacCready Gossamer Albatross: A small plane with a top speed of 29 km/h.  
  • Shizo Kanakuri: Known for the longest time to complete a marathon.
  • Venus: Venus has the slowest days out of all of the planets.  
  • Breaststroke: The slowest of the four official competitive swimming styles. The fastest swimmers can swim around 1.7 metres per second.
  • Greenland Shark: Nicknamed the “sleeper shark” for its slow pace. Has an average speed of 0.3 metres per second.  
  • Glacier Express: The slowest train in the world. Has a speed of around 24 miles per hour.   
  • Peel P50: A three-wheeled microcar listed as the smallest production car ever made.  
  • Dental Appointments: Dental appointments are generally quite unenjoyable and involve stress for many. These factors make dental appointments feel quite long.  
  • Computer Updates: When you’re waiting to work (or play!), waiting for your computer to update can feel like a long and inconvenient time.
  • Traffic Jams: Traffic jams can easily add an hour or more on to your travel time, especially in peak hour.  
  • Periods: Periods can run from around 3 days up to a week – a whole quarter of a month.    
  • Quarantine: Quarantining things to keep others safe – whether it’s children, sick plants, or people – can take a very long time.  
  • Century Egg: Also known as hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg, and black egg. A Chinese egg dish where eggs are preserved for weeks or months, depending on the processing method.  
  • Preserved Foods: Preserved foods can take days up to months to prepare.  
  • Slow Motion: A film-making effect where it looks like time is slowing down.  
  • Rotoscoping: A method of animation where each new frame is hand-drawn on top of the previous, giving the whole scene a feeling of movement (think A-Ha’s Take On Me music video). 
  • Bolero: A Latin dance with a very slow tempo.  
  • Waltz: A ballroom and folk dance with a slow pace.  

We hope this list of slow things was useful and that you found what you needed!

We did our best to cover all of the varied meanings of “slow” with our visual gallery of slow things and descriptive list. But if you feel there’s something we missed, please feel free to let us know and leave a comment.

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