GORILLA

GENUS

SPECIES

A majority of gorillas live in tropical forests. They inhabit lowland forests in many countries on the African continent such as Cameroon and the Congo. Some gorillas also live at high elevations in the forested mountains of Central Africa. Gorillas are primarily herbivorous and eat leaves, fruits, and other green plants, such as bamboo shoots. They sometimes also eat insects, like termites and ants. As of 2020, gorillas are classified as critically endangered by the IUCN. The greatest threats to their survival are poaching, disease, habitat degradation and destruction, and climate change.

ECOLOGY & HABITAT

Gorilla

Gorillas are usually friendly with each other. When not feeling threatened, they greet each other by touching their noses and are even capable of hugging. Gorillas travel around in big family groups and are usually led by the most dominant and powerful male out of the group. Gorillas are extremely intelligent animals and have strong family bonds. A few gorillas in captivity have been able to learn and use a basic form of sign language. There is only about a 1.6% difference in DNA between humans and gorillas.

LOCOMOTION & BODY SIZE

G. beringei, G. gorilla

BEHAVIOR

Gorillas can climb trees and also knuckle-walk when they are traveling on the ground. The size of gorillas differ based on their sex. Adult male gorillas can weigh over 400 pounds (180 kg) and reach a height of around 6 feet (183 cm). However, adult female gorillas are often half that size, weighing 150 to 200 pounds (68 to 90 kg) and reaching heights of about 4.5 feet (137 cm).

LIFE SPAN

Gorillas can live to be over 50 years old when in captivity, but in the wild, their maximum lifespan is usually 35 to 40 years old.

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The Visible Ape Project is funded by NSF grant #1856329.

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