Biggest, Strongest, Longest – We love learning about goats (the greatest of all time) in the natural world, not just furry mammals. But what about animals on the other end of the spectrum? What are the weakest animals in the world and how do they survive despite being so fragile?
Keep reading to find out which animals have the weakest strength, weakest bite, weakest venom, and more. You will also learn about the amazing gadgets and abilities that help these creatures thrive.
Too weak to support her own weight: jellyfish
Almost every living thing on the planet has at least the strength to support its own body and move around. The only exception to this rule is jellyfish – one of the weakest animals.
Have you ever seen a jellyfish washed ashore? His body or bell becomes flat and the water does not support him. He cannot bend his tentacles or crawl back into the water. Why not?
Jellyfish rely on seawater to keep them going, and many let the current carry them wherever they want. Movement in the water allows the stinging tentacles to spread behind the jellyfish, making occasional encounters with fish and other food items.
However, the tentacles do not have muscles with which to control their movement. The bell has a ring of muscles that you can relax and contract. This allows water to flow into the bell and be forced back, propelling the jellyfish forward.
Learn more about how jellyfish survive without a brain or other vital organs.
Mammal with the weakest bite force: anteaters
When discussing carnivores – from domestic dogs to wild predators such as sharks and big cats – bite force is often a topic of interest. Bite force is a measure of the pressure exerted by the teeth when an animal bites or chews, usually expressed in pounds per square inch (PSI). For example, a human has a bite force of about 162 psi, and a hippopotamus wins the prize for the highest bite force among mammals – 1825 psi.
On the other hand, an anteater is a mammal that has little or no bite force. In fact, he can barely move his jaws at all! Anteaters collect ants and other food by pulling out their long tongue and pulling it back into their mouth. They open and close their mouths by rotating the lower jaw, the two halves of which are connected by a ligament.
Learn more about the unique eating habits of anteaters.
Too Weak to Bite You: Black Widow Male Spiders
Male black widow spiders, like their female counterparts and virtually all other arachnids, have venom. But the little male spiders are not strong enough to bite through your skin.
Fun Fact: This is true for most spiders – many spiders have fangs that are too small or too weak to penetrate human skin. If you can’t see a spider biting you, or you can’t spot two tiny puncture wounds, this skin irritation is most likely not a spider bite.
Learn more about black widow spiders.
Weakest Serpentine Venom: Copperhead
Copperheads are believed to have the weakest venom of all pit vipers.
So what happens if a copperhead snake bites you? Bugbear venom is hemotoxic, which means it causes tissue damage. Usually, pain and tissue damage occurs only around the bite site. Bug bites are almost never fatal to humans.
But remember – poisonous or not, snakes can still bite you. If you are bitten by a venomous or unidentified snake, you should always seek medical attention.
Weakest mammal: sloths
Sloths have about 30 percent less muscle mass than many mammals of the same size. The reason for this decrease in muscle mass is not difficult to guess. Muscle is built by movement, and sloths are known to move very slowly. They also have the slowest metabolism and digestive system of any mammal.
However, sloths cannot be underestimated – their muscles are made up of slowly twitch muscle fibers. This allows the sloth to climb, walk, and even swim, while burning up little energy.
Learn more about life in a slow lane with sloths.
Weakest Jumper: Elephants
It cannot be denied that elephants are strong animals. They can fend off predators such as lions, knock trees apart, and travel hundreds of miles. Why, then, did they make it to our list of the weakest animals?
There is one means of measuring strength in which elephants are far behind – jumping. The elephant’s legs are built to support enormous weight, but their calf muscles are not strong enough to lift that weight while jumping. In fact, according to some definitions, elephants cannot even run – that is, when running is defined as lifting all four legs off the ground during stride.
Learn more about the life of elephants.
Weakest Tortoise Shell: Spiked Soft Shell Turtle
The shells of most turtles are like fortresses – strong, portable shelters that the animal can take refuge in if it senses danger.
However, the softshell spiny turtle does not have this level of protection. Its shell has been described as leather, “soft, flat and elastic.”
Is there an advantage to being a soft-shelled turtle? Yes there is! Softshell turtles can move faster than other species of turtles when they move on their muddy lake bottom, swim in open water, or even walk on land.
Weakest sight: Star-nosed mole
Star-nosed moles spend their lives in underground darkness. Eyesight in such conditions is practically useless, and these moles are practically blind.
How do star-bearing moles find their way? They have an amazing contraption called Eimer’s organs. These finger-like extensions near the nose are extremely sensitive to touch. In fact, some research has shown that star moles can respond to touch and pressure as quickly as some other animals when they see a moving object!
Learn more about the strange birthmark with a star nose.
Weakest Flight: Wild Turkey
There are many flightless birds – kiwis, ostriches, penguins and many more. But among birds that can fly, some lack the muscles to lift their large bodies for a long time.
One example is the wild turkey. These birds sleep or sleep in trees, and they fly to reach safe tall branches. They were even noted to fly at 55 mph in short bursts. But their flights are short-lived. Wild turkeys have small wings compared to their massive bodies, so steady flight is impossible, making them one of the weakest animals.
Domesticated turkeys don’t fly at all. This is because they were bred for body size. Although they can flap wildly as they hop onto the perch, their wings are too weak to provide the lift needed to fly.
Learn more about wild and domestic turkeys.
Common Weakest Creature: Humans
Wait, did you read that correctly? How are humans the weakest animals? Aren’t we at the top of the food chain?
I think about it. Most animals have amazing biological defenses – claws, sharp teeth, poisonous stings or fangs, hard shells, odors, acid, or the ability to run or fly quickly. But compared to other mammalian counterparts, humans have relatively few defense mechanisms. Our teeth are dull, our nails are fragile. We don’t even have scales or fur to protect our skin from damage.
For most of us, we also cannot survive in the wild. If you were outside, would you be able to find safe food and water to drink? Adequate housing? Can you protect yourself from predators?
We are fragile mammals, but we have intelligence, intelligence and understanding that most other animals lack. We build tools and vast social media to protect ourselves and meet our needs. Our understanding also gives us the responsibility to protect the wild, wacky and wonderful creatures that call our planet home.
Learn more about people and our place in the natural world.
Next Up: Crickets vs. Grasshoppers: 9 Key Differences Revealed