What is a Gorilla?
A Gorilla is and ape and the largest member of the primate family. It is primarily terrestrial and herbivorous. The natural habitat of the gorilla is the forest of central Africa but many are found in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries around the world. Their habitat varies from high mountainous regions to low lying marshes and swamps. Gorillas are highly intelligent and many in captivity have been taught sign language to communicate with their human carers.
Interesting facts about Gorillas
- There are three types of gorillas: Western Lowland, Eastern Lowland and Mountain gorillas.
- Gorillas live in family groups of 5- 20 members called a troop with one large dominant male called a “silverback”
- Adult male gorillas typically weigh between 300-500 lbs (137-227 kg)
- Females are far smaller than males, usually weighing between 150-200 lbs (68-91 kg)
- One famous gorilla, named Koko, was able to learn a form of sign language to communicate with handlers
- All species of gorilla are listed as endangered by international organizations.
- Mountain gorillas are the most critically endangered
- Almost all gorillas share the same blood type (B) and, like humans, have individual finger prints
- The lifespan of a gorilla is 30-50 years
- Like the other great apes, gorillas can laugh, grieve, and feel other emotions. They have been observed to develop strong family bonds, can make and use tools, and can think about the past and future.
- Gorillas are pregnant for 8 ½ months
- Baby gorillas learn to walk at 5 to 6 months.
- A baby gorilla can weigh about 4 ½ pounds.
- Adults’ arms are 20% longer than legs; gorillas walk by using all four limbs, supported by the knuckles (“knuckle-walking”)
- Gorillas cannot swim
- Gorillas build their own new nests every night using branches and foliage
- Only around 7,000 gorillas are left in the wild
- The Mountain gorilla is especially susceptible to human diseases
- Gorillas are susceptible to various parasites and diseases, especially to pneumonia during the long, cold wet seasons.
- Gorillas have a unique nose print
- Gorillas rarely attack humans. But in an encounter a person should stay still and refrain from staring or pointing at the gorilla.
- Gorillas sleep about 13 hours each night and rest for several hours at midday.