- Despite their size and current popularity, gorillas remained a mystery to people living outside of Africa until a missionary described them in 1847. After chimpanzees, gorillas are our closest relatives, sharing about 98 percent of our genes.
- Gorillas are the world’s largest primates. They are closely related to humans, with 98% of their DNA identical to that of Homo sapiens. On two legs, adult male gorillas stand about five a half feet tall (rarely a bit taller). They weigh between 300 and 400 pounds. Females are smaller, standing up to five feet tall and averaging about 200 pounds. Zoo animals are often heavier.
- Gorillas communicate using auditory signals (vocalizations), visual signals (gestures, body postures, facial expressions), and olfactory signals (odors). They are generally quiet animals, grunting and belching, but they may also scream, bark, and roar.
- Gorillas are highly intelligent. They use tools and have various methods of communication, including some 25 different sounds. One famous captive-born individual, Koko, has been taught sign language since she was a year old. By the age of 40, she had a library of about 1,000 signs and could understand some 2,000 words of English.
- A study in 2012 on captive populations revealed that female western lowland gorillas use a type of ‘baby talk’ to communicate with their babies. Scientists observed that mothers used more tactile and more repetitive gestures with their young than with other adults.
- Bloody battles sometimes occur between silverbacks when they square off to compete over female groups or home ranges. Also, newly established silverbacks may kill young not sired by them, but otherwise, gorilla family life is mostly peaceful.
- Mature offspring typically leave their natal group to find a mate. At about eight years old, females generally emigrate into a new group of her choosing. She seems to choose which silverback to join based on such attributes as size and quality of his home range, etc. This seems to be related to the silverback’s size, but not always. A female may change family groups a number of times throughout her life. When leaving their natal group, some sexually mature males may attempt to replace the silverback in an already established group. However, they usually spend a few years as solitary males. Nevertheless, a new troop can be easily formed when one or more non-related females join a lone male.
- Gorillas are most active in the morning and late afternoon. They wake up just after sunrise to search for food, and then eat for several hours. Midday, adults take a siesta and usually nap in a day nest while the young wrestle and play games. After their midday nap they forage again. Before dusk each gorilla makes its own nest, infants nest with their mothers.
9. Young gorillas play often and are more arboreal than the large adults. Adults, even the silverback, tolerate infant play behavior. He also tolerates, to a lesser extent, and often participates in the play of older juveniles and black back males.
10. A Leopardis the only animal in its range, aside from humans, that can harm an adult gorilla, although these animals rarely tangle with each other. Also, By downing trees, forest-dwelling elephants help create gorilla feeding areas.
Book a gorilla tracking trip with us today and experience these amazing guys up close and personal for a first hand feel.