FACTS ABOUT GORILLAS | FACTS ON GORILLAS | GORILLA FACTS
Gorillas are massive ground-dwelling apes that live in Central-east Africa and West African forests. There are several examples of famous gorillas and gorilla stories known by many people around the world. Gorillas are very common primates in popular culture, and almost anyone will name at least one character, like King Kong, or those in the Planet of the Apes.
In many people’s imagination, gorillas are strong, powerful, and aggressive creatures that pound their chest angry, roar, and show sharp canine teeth, and can rip your head off at the slightest provocation. In contrast with this stereotype popularized in movies, series, cartoons, and video games, the reality is another, because these primates show peaceful behavior and are among the most amazing creatures on earth. Read More
The name gorilla was derived from the Ancient Greek word “gorillae”, which means ‘tribe of hairy women’. The history of the word ‘gorilla’ dates back about 2500 years. A Carthaginian explorer called Hanno the Navigator was on an expedition to the African west coast in around 500 BC when he came across a group of predominantly female primates that he described as savage, hairy women. It is not known whether these were actually gorillas, some other kind of ape or even an unknown group of people, but Hanno’s interpreters told him they were called ‘gorillae’ and the name stuck. Read More
How many types of gorillas are there? There are two species of gorillas−the Eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei) and the Western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla). Each gorilla species is further subdivided into two subspecies. The Eastern Gorilla species consists of the Eastern low land gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) and the Mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei).
The Western gorilla species consists of the Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and the Cross River Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla diehli). The separate two species and four subspecies evolved from a single type of gorilla during the Ice Age when their forest habitats shrank and became isolated from each other. Read More
As they plan their Africa tours and safaris, travellers always wonder: Where can you see mountain gorillas? Where are gorillas found? Where do you find gorillas? Where is mountain gorillas found?
- Mountain gorillas: Mountain gorillas are a subspecies of the eastern gorilla. There are two populations of mountain gorillas. One is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, within Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in southwestern Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The other population, (almost half of the world’s mountain gorilla population) is found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the southwest of the country.. Read more
What makes mountain gorillas unique? When talks turn to great apes, most people possibly think of the mountain gorillas that the legendary primatologist Dian Fossey made famous. The remarkable work that she did in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda, as well as her unsolved murder, captured the West’s imagination.
This accounts for a good deal of the mountain gorilla’s popularity as a safari attraction – they are possibly the world’s most photographed apes. But the truth is they are a subspecies of the Eastern gorilla; a much larger and varied gorilla
While their name mountain gorillas suggest that they simply live on mountains, mountain gorillas actually prefer forested mountains. They are the most threatened race of gorillas that roam the rainforests of western Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Virunga Mountains that span the borders of southern Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They cannot be found anywhere on earth.. Read More
Wondering How do mountain gorillas look like? Scientifically termed as Gorilla beringei, mountain gorillas are typically gentle and amazingly shy and calm animals that have thick and long fur and this enables them to live in cooler temperature climatic zones, each gorilla can be identified basing on its nose print which is unique to each individual, adult males can weigh as much as 195 kg with a standing height of 168cm or 66 inches while their female counterparts can weigh 100kg with a height of 140 cm or 55inches. Mountain gorillas are diurnal animals as they are very active in the early morning and evening hours which they use for foraging or eating, they maintain an herbivorous diet which consists of leaves, fruits, tree branches and bamboo shoots. Read More
Mountain gorillas, just like humans have features that make them different from one another including;-
- Body size
- Facial structures, and
- But, identifying mountain gorillas can sometimes be tricky since some of them look alike from a distance.
During the scientific study of mountain gorillas which an American primatologist Dian Fossey began in the 1960s, there was a need for a method that could ease positive identification of mountain gorillas. The method would be of great benefit in record keeping and prospective researchers might review details on the same individuals- Read More
One of the most frequently asked questions about mountain gorillas are:-How big are mountain gorillas? What is the average weight of a mountain gorilla? How tall is a gorilla standing up? What is the size of the biggest gorilla? What is the size of the Mountain gorilla?
Gorillas are the world’s largest living primates. During your Uganda gorilla trek, you get to know how big is the silverback gorilla and how amazing it is that such a tiny baby gorilla could grow into a silverback. Read More
How does a gorilla move? Gorillas, the greatest of the apes, are primarily terrestrial (meaning they travel on the ground). While moving on the ground, gorilla typically moves on all fours or quadrupedally using their knuckles – this is called ‘knuckle walking’. Occasionally gorillas rear up to walk on their two hind legs for short distances which is bipedalism.
Knuckle-walking in Gorillas
- Knuckle-walking is a style of walking found in some primates where they move quadrupedally or on all their four limbs (hands and feet). Gorillas are also specifically knuckle-walkers. The mountain gorillas of the Virunga volcanoes, for example, knuckle walk for 94% of the time. Read More
Primarily, gorillas dwell on ground and can only spend 5 – 20% of their daytime in trees in contrast to their primate counterparts – Chimpanzees which spend 47 – 67% of their time in trees and Orangutans spending close to 100%.
Yes, Gorillas tend to climb to take advantage of fruits or play around in the tree branches. Gorillas tend to climb quad-rupedally and they rarely jump from branch to branch or brachiating.
It should be noted that because of the great weight that is normally possessed by Silverbacks and other mature male gorillas, it is very hard for them to get off the ground to climb high to the fruiting trees which have branches that cannot bear their weight. Read More
People have families. Mountain gorillas have families too. A gorilla family/group is called a troop. Each troop is made up of 5 to 30 individuals. The biggest gorilla group known to date was found in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park: It consisted of 65 individuals for a short period. A gorilla family travel together, eats together, and sleeps in the same location.
Mountain gorillas hardly ever live alone. Living in a family is safer. The family is led by a strong dorminant male known as ‘silverback’ for the silvery back patches which signal full adulthood.
The silverback is usually the biggest gorilla in the group. He leads the family through the forest. He protects it from danger. He will bark and hoot as he structures the activities of the day, which often includes eating, nesting in leaves, and moving within a home range of roughly 16 square miles. Read More
Although gorillas don’t have speaking abilities as we do, they can communicate through a variety of methods like us including body postures, facial expressions, and vocalizations.
Gorillas inhabit the densely forested areas where family members often cannot see each other, hence using mainly vocalization for communication. Gorilla has about 25 distinct vocalization and all have different meaning. The group leaders, Silverbacks are the ones that vocalize most. When travelling, grunts and barks are the most frequently heard sounds. These are produced to indicated where about of other member of the family. Group members probably recognized each other from these sounds. Read More
Travelers 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? Why can’t you look in the gorilla eyes?
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.Read More
Why do gorillas beat their chest? Gorillas beat their chest with cupped hands occasionally. So why do gorillas bang their chest or what are the repercussions of beating your chest at a gorilla or what does it mean when silverback gorilla pounds his chest?
Mountain gorillas often pound their chests whenever they perceive a threat/ danger or when they are communicating. When the beating occurs, it may indicate that the gorilla is charging at a human or any rival. It can signal warning, that gorilla is going to attack if you don’t stay away from its territory. Gorillas also beat their chest as a sign of victory or because they have won a fight. Read More
Do female gorillas beat their chests? When people think of gorilla chest-beating, they usually think of a huge silverback signaling to another male that he’s in charge. However, anyone in a gorilla group, even females and juveniles, may be seen pounding the chest.
Female gorillas usually beat their chests when quarreling with another female group member, or when a juvenile is provoking her. A juvenile (young) gorilla can also chest beat if it wants to initiate playtime with other gorillas. Read More
Gorillas are highly intelligent. They don’t use tools as much as chimpanzees do, but gorillas have been seen using sticks to gauge the depth of water, bamboo as ladders to help infants climb, and recently gorillas have been seen for the first time using sticks to eat ants without being stung.
Another sign of intelligence is the gorilla’s impressive communication abilities, and they’ve been recorded making some twenty five distinct vocalizations. Read More
Is the fact that Gorillas are always active from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm. Gorillas tend to have daily routine and events seem too follow each other chronologically. Even on your gorilla safari in Uganda and Rwanda, you have a chance be part of this routine. Gorillas move out of their nests early in the morning to commence their foraging consuming as much vegetation as they can before resting in the late morning and midday.
Typically as part of what do Gorillas do all day, the daily life of a gorilla doesn’t involve many activities. Looking for food covers a great part of the morning. Other activities include resting and travelling. Travelling does not involve too much activity. Gorillas travel is not more than a kilometer per day within their home range of about 20 square Read More
More than 85% of both Mountain and Lowland Gorillas‘ diety is a mainly vegetarian. Gorillas majorly feed on stems, buds of bamboo shoots and fruits. In searching for what does mountain gorillas eat, many people ask do gorilla eat meat?. Mountain gorillas are herbivores, which enables them to achieve their impressive stature on a mostly vegetarian diet. They have massive jaw muscles which help them chew tough vegetation. However the Western lowland gorillas, do enjoy eating termites and ants, they often break open termite nests to feed on the termite larvae Read More
Mountain gorillas mostly eat foliage, such as leaves, stems, pith, and shoots, while fruit makes up a very small part of their diets. Mountain gorilla food is widely distributed and neither individuals nor groups have to compete with one another.
Their home ranges vary from 3 to 15 square kilometer and their movements range around 500 meters or less on an average day. Despite eating a few species in each habitat, mountain gorillas have flexible diets and can live in a variety of habitats.
Eastern lowland gorillas have more diverse diets, which vary seasonally. Leaves and pith are commonly eaten, but fruits can make up as much as 25% of their diets. Since fruit is less available, lowland gorillas must travel farther each day, and their home ranges vary from 2.7–6.5 square kilometers. Eastern lowland gorillas will also eat insects, preferably ants. Read More
Traveler on gorilla safaris in Africa have always been wondering: – since gorillas are herbivore, why do they have big canines? Well, teeth aren’t just for chomping meat. In particular, the gorilla’s long–sharp canine teeth are used for display, especially when it is threatened or trying to fend off other male gorillas competing for dominance. Read More
Wondering how do gorillas sleep? Mountain gorilla sleep in new nests every day, for those wondering how do mountain gorillas sleep or whether do gorillas sleep in nests? The answer is YES!. Each day the gorillas build a new nest to sleep in. This is because the mountain gorillas are nomadic, moving around their home range constantly. At the end of the day, just before dusk, these great primates start constructing a nest where they will spend their night. Nests are carefully constructed using branches and leaves and are constructed by individuals. Nest building usually takes around 5 minutes. Gorillas, unlike chimpanzees, tend to sleep in nests on the ground. Read More
What do you do when you encounter a gorilla? For decades, the answer might have been to scream and run. Gorillas were wild beasts that could tear cities apart or so many thought based on the movie King Kong. However, from the 1960s onwards the primatologist Dian Fossey transformed gorillas’ reputation with her pioneering studies of wild eastern gorillas. And today, if your asking “Are gorillas gentle?” then once you encounter the gorillas during your Uganda tours, you should stand quietly and observe the creatures. Read More
In most cases though much of gorilla violence is directed towards fellow gorillas. Gorillas live in groups/families with demarcated boundaries/territories with one dominant Alpha male (the Silver back) controls the females and youngsters of the group. Usually If another Alpha Male Silver Back approaches in another`s domain, the silverback dominating the attacked family will try to drive the intruder off violently
In different circumstances, gorillas can be truly dangerous. Most gorilla violence is directed towards other gorillas. They live in groups, in which one dominant male silverback controls several females and youngsters. If another male approaches, the silverback will try to drive him off Read More
Gorilla strength is estimated to be about 10 times their body weight. Fully grown silverbacks are in actually stronger than 20 adult humans combined. A Silverback gorilla can lift 4,000 lb (1,810 kg) on a bench press, while a well-trained man can only lift up to 885 lb (401.5 kg. Research shows that a gorilla can lift up to 27 times their full body weight.
All gorillas can tear down banana trees without trying too hard, they’ve escaped from cages by bending the iron bars, and they have a bite force of around 1300 pounds per square inch, double that of a lion. Read More
Certain reptiles such as chameleons and caterpillars worry the gorillas. They are also afraid of water and will cross streams only if they can do so without getting wet, such as by crossing over fallen logs, and dislike rain. Read More
The life span of mountain gorillas is usually range from 35 to 40 years. Old gorillas often suffer from arthritis, which mainly damages the bones in their hands and feet. They also suffer from the loss of teeth as a consequence of periodontitis, so that they have a problem with feeding. It takes them longer to feed and to travel than the other members of the group. Read More
Wondering how many babies do female gorillas have? Most Gorilla born are single infant is births annually, with twins being a rare scenario among both mountain gorillas and western lowland gorillas. (although Uganda has had some twin births in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park). Due to the high mortality of about 40% for new gorilla babies an adult female usually only has 1 surviving offspring matured every 6 to 8 years. As a result, many female Gorillas only manage to have 2 to 6 gorilla babies/offspring in a lifetime . Read more
re you wondering what a baby gorilla is called? Baby gorillas are called infants, just like baby humans, which makes sense when we’re so closely related.
Gorilla babies are smaller than human infants when they are born. Female gorillas have a gestation period of about 8.5 months. Infant gorillas are born weighing about 1.4 kg (3 pounds) – 1.8 kg (4 pounds) when they’re born. That is half the weight of the average human infant!
However, gorillas grow faster and reach maturity at around 12 years of age. Gorillas end up weighing more than the average human by the time they are adults. This is between 136-219 kg/300-483 pounds for males and about 90-113 kg/198-249 pounds for females. Read More
How long do baby gorillas stay with their mothers? Mother gorillas stay with their younger ones until they are four years old. All this time the mothers attend to their babies until they can support themselves. A newborn gorilla weighs 5 pounds at birth and covered with black hair. The young baby gorilla is about two times smaller than the human baby but they grow quickly compared to human babies. Read More
Besides humans, gorillas have few enemies. Due to their massive size and power of a Silverback gorilla, these apes also have no natural predator apart from leopards. The gorillas’ social structure also helps them to prevent themselves from being prey of other animals.
Mountain gorillas in Congo share their habitat with animals such as the African forest buffalo, African forest elephants, lions, and leopards. Leopards are big and smart felines that feed on meat from multiple animals and have the ability to kill an adult gorilla. The main advantage of leopards is their ability to climb trees quickly and efficiently, which are the places where these primates build their nests. Read More
Can a gorilla be a pet? Although gorilla shares almost 98% of our DNA, they do not make good pets. You may see pictures of baby gorillas and think “how cute! I would love one as a pet!” But gorillas can be AWFUL pets for several reasons. They are many times stronger than any human with sharp and long canine teeth that can easily inflict injury.
Gorillas are also very difficult to care for as they require a specialized diet and feed on large quantities of vegetation. They have habits that you certainly don’t want in your house. Since they depend on their social groups to survive, gorillas that are isolated from peers often become psychologically damaged. Read More
No, mountain gorillas can’t survive in zoos. They are only live in mountainous forested areas of Central-East Africa. In the 1960s and 70s, several attempts were made to capture live mountain gorillas and start a captive population. A number of adult gorillas were killed to get live babies but none of which survived in captivity.
Why are there no mountain gorillas in zoos?
The reason why mountain gorillas failed to survive in captivity is unclear, but most probably because of the complex mountain gorilla diet. Read more
Because there are only about 1,000 mountain gorillas left, it’s important that their population size be continuously monitored to evaluate whether, and which, conservation tactics work. Their populations must keep growing because mountain gorillas have very low genetic diversity The 2018 mountain gorilla population census revealed that about 1,063 mountain gorillas exist on earth. Unlike their lowland cousins, mountain gorillas can only survive in the wild.
One of the lesser-known facts about mountain gorillas is that unlike other great apes (except humans) whose populations are decreasing in size, the mountain gorilla population is actually increasing. Read More
Despite their recent population growth, the mountain gorillas are still threatened. As of 2020, mountain gorillas are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List and are dependent on conservation efforts to survive.
Besides having few natural predators, the most dangerous enemies of mountain gorillas are humans. In some areas like in Democratic Republic of Congo, gorillas are hunted for bushmeat; they suffered wars, habitat loss through deforestation and often fall in traps destined for the small animals like duikers. Read More
How can we help save gorillas?Visiting mountain gorillas families and learn about the life of the gorillas is one way of contributing to the ongoing efforts of saving these endangered apes. The revenue received from gorilla trekking tours benefits gorilla conservation.
Also during your gorilla trek, it is important to maintain strict rules and regulation- such as avoid visiting gorillas when you are ill. You can also make a donation to the gorilla conservation organizations such as Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Read More
Gorillas, the world’s largest living primates have their name derived from Ancient Greek Gorillae ‘tribe of hairy women’, described by a Carthaginian explorer called Hanno the Navigator around 500 BC. During an expedition on the West African coast, Hanno met “savage people”, most of whom were women, whose bodies were hairy, and whom his interpreters called Gorillae.”
Mountain gorilla as their name implies that they simply live in mountains. They are known scientifically as Gorilla Beringei beringei. Mountain gorillas actually prefer forested mountains living in an elevations of between 2400 and 3900 meters. Read More
The eastern lowland gorilla is the largest of the four gorilla subspecies weighing up to 250 kilograms. Its scientific name is Gorilla beringei graueri and it is one of the two subspecies of the eastern gorilla. The Eastern lowland gorillas are endemic to mountainous forests of the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read More
Eastern lowland gorillas spend long hours feeding on plant matter every day. Their diet includes varied plants diet including; Fruits, Leaves, Stems, Bark and small insects such as ants and termites, insects form only a minor part of their diet.
Threats to Eastern lowland gorilla survival include; Poaching for bushmeat : This is the primary cause of the decline in the Eastern lowland gorilla population. Eastern lowland gorillas are eaten by displaced peoples residing in the region affected by the civil war, militias groups, loggers and miners.
The Western lowland gorilla is scientifically known as Gorilla gorilla gorilla and one of the two subspecies of the western gorillas (Gorilla gorilla). They are not only the smallest of the four subspecies of gorillas but also the most numerous and widespread of all gorilla subspecies. About 100,000 western lowland gorillas exist on earth today with around 4,000 in zoos. Read More
Although western lowland gorillas are the smallest of the four subspecies of gorilla, they still have exceptional size and strength. The average weight of an adult male western lowland gorilla is 140 kilograms well as the average weight of an adult female western lowland gorilla is 90 kilograms.
As primarily herbivorous, the main diet of western lowland gorilla groups consists of Roots, Shoots, Fruit, Wild celery, Tree bark and Pulp
The Cross River gorilla, the rarest great apes in the world, is scientifically known as Gorilla gorilla diehli. It is one of the two subspecies of the western gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) and listed as critically endangered on the IUCN red-list. Read More
First described as a new subspecies of the western gorilla in 1904 by Paul Matschie, the Cross River gorilla’s morphological distinctiveness was confirmed in 1987. When comparing the Cross River gorilla to western lowland gorillas, they have noticeably smaller palates, smaller cranial vaults, and shorter skulls
Are gorillas strong? Of all the primates on earth, Gorillas have an attractive, muscular body just like that of human bodybuilders. Due to their muscular and well-built body, we often wonder: – how much stronger is a gorilla than a human? Or how many times stronger is a gorilla than a human?
The strength of a gorilla is exceptional, as noted above, and a human could not go hand in hand with a gorilla and succeed. In fact, if you were going up in a hand-to-hand fight against any other animal in the world, a silverback gorilla is definitely one of the worst draws you could manage. You would only survive if that was what the silverback wanted.
It is believed that a gorilla punch is strong enough to shatter your skull with one slam of its arm between 1300 to 2700 pounds of force. Gorillas on (avg. 400 lbs) have a muscle mass density almost 4 times higher than the most heavily muscled powerful human you know.
While strolling in one of the greatest national parks of Uganda such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you will be easily able to notice that one of the visible reasons why arms of these gorillas are so muscled.
While there has not been a clear explanation as to why gorillas walk on their knuckles, scientific research has indicated several possibilities that would have led to this unusual locomotion behavior.
Like humans, gorillas are not very independent when they’re born. At first, they lay on their mom’s stomach and she supports them with one arm, walking tripedally. At around 3 months of age, they can grasp on and mom can go back to walking quadrupedally. Eventually, infant gorillas grow strong enough to climb onto their mother’s back.
Gorillas are very fast especially when they are in the forest. Gorillas have ability to run at speeds of 20 mph to 25 mph. So when a gorillas charges at your during your trekking encounter in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda or Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, you advised not to run, but to look down and walk away steadily to create a distance between you and the gorilla.
Gorillas’ impressive communication ability is another sign of the intelligence among these great apes. They’ve been recorded making some 25 different vocalizations to communicate alarm, distress, aggression, contentment, and group coordination.
Habitat loss is severe threat to mountain gorilla population. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, Mgahinga gorilla National Park in Uganda, Virunga National Park in DRC and Volcanoes National Park where these great apes are surrounded by rapidly increasing human settlement.
Though gorillas are obviously very strong and powerful, they are generally gentle and very calm. Severe gorilla fights are rare in stable gorilla families. However, gorillas can fight for females; and they can fight if another male tries to take over the group leadership.
Are gorillas a danger to people? Before Dian Fossey’s work, gorillas had an appalling reputation as violent brutes that would kill a human on sight. Fossey demolished this myth. Living alongside a group of mountain gorillas in the forests of Rwanda, she showed that these huge apes are actually gentle giants, with individual personalities and rich social lives. In many ways they are like us.
Loud noise in the forest during gorilla trekking. Gorillas live in the forest and are used to wild noise that any strange kind of noise can be interpreted as a sign of danger. Making constant direct eye contact with the gorillas. The silverback gorilla is the king of the territory and trying to hold eye contact with him is interpreted as a complete sign of disrespect and a challenge.
Listen to the instructions from your ranger guide who will then direct you on what to do in order to safeguard yourself. Gorilla treks are led by an armed ranger guide since they spend a number of times visiting the gorillas so they are well aware of the moods and when the gorillas are irritated.
Gorillas are the world’s largest great apes usually weighing more than 200 kg and stand up 6 feet tall with an arm span of up to 8 feet. The body of gorillas is covered by fur except for their face, sole of their feet, chest, and palms.
Gorilla diet differs between and within species. Mountain gorillas mostly eat foliage, such as leaves, stems, pith, and shoots, while fruit makes up a very small part of their diets. Mountain gorilla food is widely distributed and neither individuals nor groups have to compete with one another.
The reason why mountain gorillas failed to survive in captivity is unclear, but most probably because of the complex mountain gorilla diet. Also possibly the rate of consumption and variety in feeds make it hard for mountain gorillas to survive in captivity.
Mountain gorillas only live in Africa in three countries; Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. In Uganda, they live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is home to almost half of the world’s population of these gentle great apes and in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in the southwestern region of the country
All gorillas in zoos around the world are lowland gorillas and mainly western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), one of the two sub species of the western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla). There are over 100,000 western lowland gorillas in the wild, with 4,000 in zoos, thanks to conservation. Eastern lowland gorillas have a population of fewer than 3,800 in the wild and 24 in zoos