Gorillas reside in low lands and highlands, in Congo, there are both low land and high lands Gorillas while in Nigeria and Gabon we have low land gorillas. The Gorillas like forested areas where they can survive on the leaves, insects, and nuts found in the forests especially the Bamboo. They also need to stay in big vast places because they leave in groups of about 13 and keep moving from one place to the other.
Fact on How a Gorilla feeds
The gorilla is herbivorous, or plant-eaters. They eat the fruits, leaves, and stems of a wide range of plants from the undergrowth of the forest floor. Bamboo shoots are their favorite delicacy. The Gorillas usually get their drinking water from the dew on the leaves.
Although the Gorillas eat a variety of plants, their favorite food includes wild celery, bamboo, thistles, stinging nettles, bedstraw, and certain fruit. These plants seem to provide sufficient moisture so that gorillas do not need water.
Reproduction and life span Facts
A female gorilla is of birth-giving age by the time she turns 10-12 years old. While male Gorillas are ready to mate at the age of 12 or 15 years. Female Gorillas usually give birth to a single young gorilla, apart from some rare cases of twin births here and there. Young Gorillas attain their independence when they turn 3 ½ years.
The Gorilla’s gestation period is 8½ months and there is usually a gap of 3-4 years between. Infants stay with their mothers for 3–4 years. Lifespan is between 30–50 years, although there have been exceptions. For example, the Dallas Zoo’s Jenny lived to the age of 55.
Behaviors and adaptations
Just like in all other animals with dominant males, the Gorillas also have the silverback as the dominant male in their families. This male is called a silverback named for the distinctive patch of silver hair on his back. A silverback gorilla has large canine teeth that come with maturity. Aside the Silverbacks are Black backs which are sexually mature males of up to 11 years of age.
The silverback typically leads the Gorilla Family and is in the center of the family’s attention, making all the decisions, mediating conflicts, determining the movements of the group, leading the others to feeding sites, taking care of the orphaned young ones and taking responsibility for the safety and well-being of the troop. In these cases, black backs serve as backup protection.
If challenged by a younger or even by an outsider male, a silverback will scream, beat his chest, break branches, bare his teeth, and then charge forward.
At the age of about 11 years, the young male Gorillas will move out of the family to go and form or join an already existing youthful group for 2–5 years before being able to attract females to form a new group and start a family. Sometimes a younger male in the group can take over leadership from an old male. If the leader is killed by disease, accident, fighting, or poachers, the group will split up, as the animals disperse to look for a new protective male. Very occasionally, a group might be taken over in its entirety by another male. There is a strong risk that the new male may kill the infants of the dead silverback (infanticide).
Communication in Gorillas
Gorillas use a wide range of facial expressions to communicate with each other. They sometimes protrude the tongue forward, use various vocal sounds, slap their chest, and even laugh when they are tickled. The way a gorilla may express his/her feelings maybe on the similar lines of a human; although they cannot actually use human speech to communicate.
Gorillas are closely related to humans and are considered highly intelligent. They share the same passion and grief like in humans. Gorillas know how to care for their young ones and one another. Like humans, they react to situations like a loss of a loved one, though they can not shade tears but they become sad and act in their own way of showing sadness.
Adult male Gorillas weigh between 140 and 204 kg while females weigh around 100 kg. In height, the male Gorillas grow as high as 165-175 cm and the females around 140 cm. Usually, the female is half the size of the silverback, and a baby gorilla can weigh about 4 ½ pounds.
The gorillas’ facial structure is described as “mandibular prognathism”, this name comes as a result of their protruding mandibles.
The Gorilla colors differ from one gorilla type to another with the mountain gorillas being the darkest of all and the Western gorilla being the least dark of all. You will recognize the Mountain Gorilla from its thick hair because it has the thickest hair. The Western Lowland Gorillas can be grayish or brown with a reddish forehead, and they live in lowland jungles, more slender and agile than the more bulky Mountain Gorillas.