Survival of the Slowest

Survival of the Slowest

tSometimes being slow has advantages. In “Survival of the Slowest” you’ll meet live animals such as a two-toed sloth, a green iguana, a chameleon and several other species that manage to thrive in a world where large, strong and fast animals are often at the top of the food chain. Explore dozens of habitats teeming with live plants and animals, and discover their counterintuitive adaptations and surprising strategies for survival.

Guests will learn how general biology concepts apply in the real world and how survival in the animal world is all about trade-offs—some are cold-blooded, others warm-blooded; some are adapted to need food less frequently than others; and some find unique ways to hide from their adversaries. 

Most people know why it is good to be bigger, stronger, faster. But evolving to be slower as a mechanism for survival?  Many animals have evolved to slow down as part of their survival strategy. “Survival of the Slowest” encourages guests to slow down and consider some of the advantages of being slow and some of the disadvantages of being fast.  

Even better? This exhibition is FREE with Museum general admission (and free to Museum members!). No extra timed ticket is necessary to enter. Purchase your tickets to the Museum and plan your visit to Survival of the Slowest today. 

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Exhibition Sections

Cold-Blooded or Warm-Blooded?
Slow & Steady

Interesting Facts

  • Most slow animals, including sloths, use camouflage to avoid predation—you don’t have to run away if you can’t be seen. Other slowpokes, such as tortoises, lionfish and porcupines, have evolved armor and/or venom to deter attack. 
  • Did you know that sloths actually grow algae on their fur, which helps conceal them in their leafy environment? 
  • Being nocturnal helps sloths avoid their main predator—the Harpy Eagle, a daytime hunter. 
  • Sloths’ extreme slowness makes them extremely vulnerable on the ground. There are only two reasons a sloth will leave a tree: to find a mate and to poop. 
  • Sloths have the lowest relative muscle mass of any mammal. Only 25% of a sloth’s body mass is muscle, compared to 40% in humans and 58% in lions. 
  • Iguanas can run quickly if needed, but they prefer to conserve energy and rely on camouflage to remain in trees. 
  • Rattlesnakes are “sit-and-wait” predators. Even their venom helps conserve energy. After the venom kills the prey, the snake can wait and eat at its leisure. 
  • Some tarantulas have been reported to have gone two years without eating! 
  • Horned Frogs from central South America live in dry areas. To avoid drying out, they form a cocoon of shed skin that locks in moisture. 
  • The American Barn Owl is an amazing hunter. By focusing on nutritious, high-energy prey, it needs less food energy than other birds that eat grains. 

Events and Virtual Offerings

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Shop our fun and whimsical collection of products specially curated for "Survival of the Slowest."

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