Why can’t you look in the gorilla eyes?, Why do gorillas not like eye contact

Travellers on gorilla trekking tours have on several occasions been wondering why you can’t stare a gorilla in the eyes. What happens if one makes direct eye contact with a gorilla? Why do gorillas not like eye contact? So, what does a direct stare mean to a gorilla?

Looking directly into the eyes of a silverback gorilla shows that you are ready to challenge the gentle giant. A typical gorilla family is headed by one dominant silverback who always keeps his eyes open to challenge and defeat anyone and anything that interferes with the peace of the family.

Travellers, therefore, are cautioned to be humble in the presence of a silverback gorilla. If you keep looking directly into the eyes of a gorilla, it means that you’re an enemy who has come to disrupt the family and you are ready to challenge the gorilla. Direct eye contact can, therefore, trigger the silverback to charge and fight you in defense of his family. If you want peace with gorillas, avoid direct eye contact with gorillas.

Also, the gorilla is naturally very shy creatures. Like shy humans, staring directly into the eyes of gorilla make them feel uncomfortable and insecure and when disrupted by your direct eye contact, they can charge aggressively at you to defend themselves.