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10 Examples of Sluggish and Useless Animals

Nearly every creature in the animal kingdom has a purpose, even if it seems like a pest. For example, mosquitoes are a major food source for many animals, including birds, fish, and small mammals. However, there are some animals that don’t seem to do much at all. Not only are certain creatures seemingly useless, but there are some animal species that do more harm than good. In fact, you could argue that the world would be better off without certain creatures! These are some of the most useless animals that can be found in the wild.

10 Sluggish or Useless Animals

What makes an animal useless? The animals below range from simply sluggish to actively harmful. It’s hard to find creatures that are more useless to their environments than these animals.

1. Panda

Giant panda
Giant panda | Image by veverkolog from Pixabay

The panda is a type of bear that can only be found in China. These creatures spend the majority of their lives eating bamboo, which makes up 99% of their diets. When pandas aren’t eating, they’re usually sleeping. They frequently take 2 to 4-hour naps after meals.

Pandas don’t have much interest in mating, especially when they’re kept in captivity. When pandas are born, they’re blind, toothless, and completely helpless. Adult pandas are able to defend themselves, but the panda is still an animal that doesn’t seem to have much of a purpose.

2. Blobfish

These deep-water fish have jelly-like bodies that make them look like a blob. While the blobfish was once voted the world’s ugliest animal, it looks like a normal fish in its usual habitat. Blobfish have almost no bones or muscle, and they can only maintain their shape in environments with high water pressure.

Since blobfish don’t have much muscle, it can be difficult for them to move, and they are not able to hunt for food. Instead, they feed on the edible marine matter that floats around them. Humans don’t eat blobfish, but these fish are sometimes trapped in the nets of fishermen.

Unfortunately there are very few images of these sea creatures so you’ll have to use your imagination for this one.

3. Sloth

Sloths
Sloth | Image by Michael Mosimann from Pixabay

It’s hard to find an animal that’s as lazy as a sloth! They rarely move, and sloth species can sleep anywhere from 10 to 18 hours a day. One of the reasons that sloths are so sluggish is their diet, which mostly consists of leaves.

Not only are leaves low in nutrients, but they are difficult for sloths to digest. Sloths are found in tropical rainforests, where they spend almost all of their time hanging from trees. Even though sloths don’t do much, there are some benefits to their laziness.

Since sloths don’t move much, it can be difficult for predators to spot them in the wild. Maybe that’s why sloths have been around for more than 65 million years!

4. Locust

Desert locust
Desert locust

The locust has gone through very few changes since the Triassic era, which makes it one of the oldest bugs in the world. They’re a type of grasshopper that can be found in most parts of the world. While many insects play an important role in ecosystems, locusts are known for the damage they cause to the environment.

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Locusts are greedy eaters and are known to feed in swarms. This behavior can have a devastating effect on trees, plants, and crops. Throughout history, locusts have caused many famines. They can also spread allergens that are harmful to humans and other animals.

5. Crown-of-Thorns Sea Star

Crown of thorns sea star
Crown of thorns sea star | image by Joi Ito via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

This large starfish can be found in tropical and subtropical waters around the Indo-Pacific region. Even though it has a toxic spine, this defense mechanism doesn’t do much to deter fish, crustaceans, and other predators. It mostly feeds on coral polyps, which are tiny organisms that make up coral reefs.

The crown-of-thorns sea star usually plants itself on a colony of living coral. Once it’s there, it releases digestive enzymes that liquefy the coral. Just one of these starfish can destroy more than 65 square feet of coral per year. This has caused significant damage to coral ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef.

6. Koala

Koala with joey
Koala with joey | Image by Holger Detje from Pixabay

The koala can only be found in Australia. While it’s sometimes referred to as the koala bear, it’s actually a marsupial. Koalas may be cute, but they’re not very useful. They spend the majority of their time resting and can sleep for as long as 20 hours per day. If they’re not sleeping, they’re probably eating.

Koalas live in Eucalyptus trees and feed on the tree’s leaves, which have almost no nutritional value. To make things worse, it’s difficult for koalas to store fat, which means they can’t go long without eating. It’s not unusual for a koala to eat as much of 14 ounces of leaves per day!

7. Rats

Rat eating nut
Rat eating nut

Even though rats are hardy rodents, it’s hard for them to find food and water in the wild. That’s why rats frequently invade homes and other indoor structures.

Rats are known for spreading diseases, and they can also cause significant damage to the environment. They’re known to contaminate crops and stored food with their saliva, urine, and droppings.

It’s estimated that at least 40% of reptile and bird extinctions have been caused by rats. Rats can be found in every part of the world except for Antarctica and are an invasive species in many regions. Due to the damage rats can cause, some areas use armed patrols to control rat populations.

8. Guinea Worm

These parasites are found in fresh water, which allows them to infest humans and other animals. An infestation can cause guinea worm disease, an illness that can cause permanent damage to the body. Infections can cause severe pain, especially when the worms exit the bodies of their hosts.

While organizations usually take steps to protect endangered species, the guinea worm is so useless that there are programs in place to drive the animal to extinction. Today, it can only be found in five countries. Currently, the World Health Organization hopes that guinea worms will be completely extinct by 2030.

9. Kākāpō

Kakapo
Kakapo | image by Department of Conservation via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Sometimes called the owl parrot, these flightless birds can be found on the islands of New Zealand. Since it has very few ways to protect itself from predators, it usually freezes when it feels threatened. Unfortunately, the bird has a strong scent, which means it can easily be tracked by animals.

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It has a smaller digestive system than most bird species, which requires it to grind down its food before it eats. The kākāpō is a herbivore and mostly feeds on seeds, pollen, and fruit. It’s only able to breed every two to five years, when high-protein fruits and seeds are more abundant.

10. Nurse Shark

Nurse shark underwater
Nurse shark underwater

While some shark species can reach speeds of more than 40 miles per hour, the nurse shark is famously sluggish. It lives at the bottom of the water, where it usually hides under ledges or crevices. This shark is very docile and can grow to be more than 10 feet long.

Nurse sharks have very small mouths, which makes it difficult for them to eat many types of prey. Since they aren’t fast enough to catch many fish, they hunt at night, when many fish are dormant. During the day, nurse sharks usually lurk in large, inactive groups of up to 40 sharks.

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