May 29, 2024

The gorilla is the largest primate and the second closest relative (after chimpanzees) of humans. There are three subspecies of gorillas: western lowland gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas, and mountain gorillas. As their names suggest, these animals inhabit different parts of Africa and in different habitats. Gorillas are critically endangered species. Their numbers in the wild have declined dramatically over the past century due to habitat loss, hunting, animal and zoo trafficking, and disease.

Gorillas are one of our closest living relatives, and they share at least 95% of their DNA with humans.

Male gorillas are two times bigger than females. They can reach height of 6 feet and weight of 480 pounds.

African apes (gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos) diverged from a common ancestor about 5 million years ago and belong to the family Hominidae.

Females are usually 5 feet tall, weighing up to 215 pounds.

Gorillas live in fairly stable social groups comprising of one adult male usually referred to as the silverback (because of the silver hair on his back which signals full adulthood) and multiple females with juveniles and infants. When young males reach the age of 8-11 they will usually emigrate away and either join another group or form new groups.

Gorilla is 4 to 8 times stronger than human.

Gorilla family groups each live within relatively small areas of land. Different groups can however occupy converging areas and co-exist peacefully.

Just like humans, gorilla has 10 fingers on hands, 32 teeth and forward-looking eyes. Unlike humans, big toes on feet look like thumbs. Also, their arms are longer and more muscular.

Gorillas will groom each other by combing each other with their fingers and teeth. This ‘social grooming’ is an important aspect of gorilla groups which helps to establish and reinforce social bonds.

Almost whole body of gorilla is covered with black hair. Between the age of 13 and 15 years, male gorilla changes the black color of the hair at its back into silver.

Western Lowland gorilla diets have a much higher proportion of fruit.

Gorilla can stand in the upright position, but it normally walks using all four extremities.

Females will start giving birth at about 10 years old and will have offspring every 3-4 years. When in oestrus she will be able to conceive for only three days in the month.

Upright position is usually associated with punching of the chests and it reflects excitement or aggressiveness.

Gorillas have a gestation period of nine months like humans, but babies usually weigh less than humans at approximately 4 pounds, their development is however roughly twice as fast.

Another unique characteristic of gorillas is their ability to experience wide variety of emotions: love, hate, fear, pride, jealousy, anger, greed, grief…

Gorillas spend a good deal of their time on the ground rather than in the trees, and will make new nests on the ground each night.

Gorillas are very intelligent animals. They communicate using at least 22 different sounds, body posture, facial expression, body odor…

Gorillas were seen for the first time using simple tools to perform tasks in the wild in 2005. They were observed using sticks to test the depth of muddy water and to cross swampy areas.

Gorillas live in groups called “troops”. They are composed of one dominant male (silverback), one younger (sexually immature) male, 3 to 4 females and 3 to 6 young gorillas.

Gorillas are able to learn and apply sign language to communicate with people.

Gorillas have large bellies because they have long intestines required for plant-based diet. They eat large quantities (up to 40 pounds per day) of shoots, branches, leaves, fruits and vines. Other than that, gorillas eat ants, termites, insect larvae and worms.

In Mountain gorillas, the ‘belch vocalization’ is a contact call and sign of contentment while foraging.

Gorillas are diurnal (active during the day) animals. They spend third part of the day in search for food, one third in eating and the rest of the day in resting.

Most gorillas will use a low grumbling sound to both locate each other and as sign of contentment.

Gorilla builds a nest using the leaves. Nest can be located on the ground or on the trees, but gorilla never sleeps in the same nest twice. Often change of the nest protects it against the predators such as leopards and crocodiles.

Aggressive displays, such as the beating of chests and charging are quite rare but will be used by male gorillas as a warning if surprised or threatened.

Gorilla can mate any time during the year. Pregnancy in female lasts 8.5 months and ends with one baby.

Although gorillas are generally quiet, they have a range of complex vocalisations which are used to communicate information in numerous contexts including teaching survival skills to young, searching for food, and during courtship.

Females are devoted mothers. They will continue carrying their babies in the arms even after they learn to walk. Females reach sexual maturity between 10 and 12 years, while males between 11 and 13 years.

Gorillas were seen for the first time using simple tools to perform tasks in the wild in 2005. They were observed using sticks to test the depth of muddy water and to cross swampy areas.

Lifespan of gorilla is between 35 and 50 years.

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