Interesting facts about gorillas

24 interesting facts about gorillas

Gorillas are amazing mammals and are considered the largest living primates in the world. They are herbivorous and mainly feed on leaves, fruits, and stems, while in some instances, gorillas can feed on small insects. Gorillas live in dense vegetation cover and more so in tropical and subtropical forests. Gorillas have a 95% to 99% DNA similarity with that of human beings. Gorillas walk on four limbs and heavily depend on their knuckles to carry the weight of the torso and head.

Gorillas are divided into two eastern gorillas and western gorillas, which are distinguished by their fur, whereby the eastern gorilla tends to have a much darker fur color than the western gorilla. Each of these gorilla species can be divided into two sub-species, each whereby the eastern gorilla has a subspecies of the mountain gorilla and eastern lowland gorilla, while the western gorilla subdivided into western lowland gorilla and cross river gorilla.

Interesting Facts

1. Intelligence

Gorillas are considered highly intelligent by their ability to use tools and effectively communicate using 25 different sounds.

2. DNA

The DNA of gorillas is almost similar to that of human beings, with a percentage ranging from 95% to 99% making them humans’ closest relative. Due to the DNA similarity, gorillas are susceptible to human illness and may be fatal to them since they have developed the necessary immune system as humans.

3. SilverBack

The silver hair found on male gorillas depicts that they are the leader of their troop and have reached maturity to make decisions of the troop, control movement, defend the troop against predators and resolve conflicts.

3. Family Oriented

Gorillas live and move in groups that are referred to as troops according to their chronological order. Gorillas have regular family troops ranging from 5 to 10 individuals with a dominant male as their leader.

4. Gestation Period

Gorillas have a gestation period of nine months and give birth to infants who weigh a little bit of four pounds less than a human baby, but their growth and development are rapid, almost twice as fast.

5. Schedule

Gorillas tend to have a daily routine and chronological events unless interfered with by adverse weather conditions. They are active from 6 am to 6 pm and take naps around midday, while most of the day is spent on consuming as much vegetation as they can before having a rest.

6. Water

Gorillas seldom drink water from a water source since most of the food they consume contains water. Gorillas are capable of eating up to 18 kilograms of food per day.

7. Communication

Gorillas use 25 different vocal sounds such as grunts, hoots, hand gestures, and barks to communicate with each other.

8. Dangerous and Brutal

Although gorillas are seldom violent, they can be brutal when attacked, and this is characterized by their massive body structure and inbuilt body strength. Silverback gorillas will fiercely defend their troops with their lives.

9. Play a great role in Climate control.

Gorillas as herbivores eat plants, fruits, and seeds as a whole, and through excretion, they play a great part in the germination and propagation of plants in the forest. Gorillas keep migrating from one part of the forest to another, where they dump their waste, facilitating plants’ growth.

10. Strength

Gorillas have very strong arms, backs, and broad chests and can lift and pull far more powerful than human beings due to their larger and more muscular bodies that weigh close to 300 to 500 pounds.

11. Fingerprints and opposable thumbs.

Gorillas have unique fingerprints and can be used by scientists in identification processes. Gorillas can grasp and hold objects due to their opposable thumbs.

12. Habitat

Gorillas live in nests that they construct on the ground or trees. They construct these nests every evening before going to rest. Infants sleep in their mother’s nests while other gorillas sleep in groups in nests on the ground.

13. Weight

Gorillas being the largest apes, the males around 143 to 169 kilograms and around 1.4 to 1.8 meters tall, while female gorillas tend to weigh half of the males and slightly 20 to 30 centimeters shorter than their male counterparts.

14. Life span

Gorillas have a lifespan of around 40 to 50 years. Gorillas tend to spend 80% of their time on the ground rather than in the trees.

15. Sign Language

Gorillas use numerous sign gestures to communicate with their troops in the wild and can also be trained to communicate by sign language since they are highly intelligent.

16. Tool use

The most common tools used by gorillas are sticks, tree stumps, and rocks. Sticks can be used to dig out insects from the ground or determining the depth of water while crossing a river. Gorillas can use tree stumps as a modified bridge, and sometimes they use rocks to crush palm nuts or fruits. Gorillas will use branches and leaves to construct nests for their habitats.

17. Sex

Gorillas have a face to face intercourse and exhibit similar bedroom behavior to humans.

18. Reproduction and parenting

Interestingly, female gorillas experience menstrual periods every 30 days like humans and can get pregnant any time of the year. Female gorillas start giving birth at about ten years and will be reproductive every four to six years and give birth to twins. The dominant silverback is the only male permitted to mate with multiple adult females in a troop, and upon the birth of an infant, the dominant male is responsible for protecting the mother and infant from any harm.

19. Homosexuality

Homosexual behavior is evident in male troops, and their social interaction can lead to gay behavior. Male gorillas can mate with both female and male gorillas.

20. Chest Beating

Gorillas beat their chests to convey their size to others, which helps prevent fights or avoid confrontations.

21. Emotions

Gorillas can experience emotions such as sadness or happiness, and this evident when they cry when injured or hurt, and they can also laugh when tickled.

22. Religious

Scientists believe that gorillas can view the world religiously through their behavioral capability of showing empathy, adherence to rules, and imagination which are the core concepts of originality of religion.

23. Captivity

The mountain gorillas’ subspecies can only be found in high altitudes; forested mountains cannot survive captivity.

24. Endangered Population

With a population of around 200,000, Gorillas are the most endangered apes species in the world. Mountain gorillas are sparsely populated, and they amount to only 900 worldwide, while half of this population can be found in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo.


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