Ten Facts About Gorillas

With their human like features and behaviours, the gorilla is an incredible creature that is adored by many. Primarily living in the tropical forests of Africa, they are an amazing sight to see on a wildlife safari.

Here at Africa Safari Classics, we believe that the more you know about gorillas, the better experience you will have seeing them in their natural habitat; so we wanted to share a few facts about them with you.

Gorillas are the largest of all primates

A mature male gorilla can grow up to 6 feet tall, with an arm span of up to 8 feet. Adult females will be about half this size.

There are 4 subspecies of gorilla

The subspecies are the Eastern Lowland, the Mountain Gorilla, the Western Lowland and the Cross River Gorilla. The Cross River species is the rarest of all apes, with less than 300 surviving in the wild.

Gorillas have a 98% DNA match to humans

Along with chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans, gorillas are the closest living relatives to humans. Gorillas can feel the full scale of emotions that humans do, but when they cry they do not shed tears.

They have a unique body shape

Gorillas have a larger stomach than chest. This is due to their enlarged intestines which are able to digest the large amount of vegetation that they consume. They also have larger muscles in their arms than their legs to make food gathering easier; this also helps to increase their defences when protecting their young and territory.

The hair on gorillas will vary per species, and changes with age. The older male gorillas will acquire silver grey hair on their back as they reach sexual maturity. Adult gorillas do not have hair on their fingers, palms, soles, nose, lips, ears or chest.

They are herbivores

Like other apes, gorillas are herbivores and feast on leaves, shoots, roots and vines. To satisfy their appetites, gorillas eat more than 40 lbs (18 kg) of vegetation a day. Depending on the species, some will also enjoy fruits and insects.

Newborns learn to walk by 6 months

Gorillas are capable of walking on their legs like humans, but most choose to use their arms as well, which they do by knuckle-walking on all fours. They do this because it is a way of distributing their weight, which makes it much easier for them to walk.

Gorillas can live up to 50 years old

The average age for wild gorillas to live up to is 35 years old, but protected gorillas can live longer. The threats to gorillas’ survival include deforestation, disease, parasitism, poaching and predators – leopards and crocodiles.

They have at least 22 sounds used for communication

From studying gorilla behaviour, researchers have determined that gorillas have no identifiable language, but they make sounds that can vary from grunts to whooping and chest pounding.

Gorillas are shy animals

They are generally calm creatures that will only get angered if they feel threatened. You will certainly know if a gorilla is angry, as they will pound their chest repeatedly and cry out with frustration.

They are mostly active during the day and sleep for up to 13 hours a night, sometimes even choosing to have a nap in the day time too.

They live in groups

Gorillas live in groups called troops which are made up of a few adult males called silverbacks, younger males called black backs, many adult females and their young. The oldest and strongest of the silverbacks is usually the dominant member of the group.

Have we missed out any facts that you love about gorillas?

If you would like to see the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda up close in a safe environment which encourages the preservation of their surroundings, why not check out our Gorilla Safari package.

Image Courtesy of BigStock Photo








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