15+ Interesting Facts About Gorillas

  1. There are 2 species (the western gorilla and the eastern gorilla) and 4 subspecies of gorillas. The subspecies are Mountain gorillas, Eastern Lowland gorillas, Western Lowland gorillas, and Cross River gorillas. The eastern lowland gorilla is the largest subspecies. Mountain gorillas have longer and thicker fur as compared to other subspecies. All these subspecies are either endangered or critically endangered. (Source)
  2. Gorillas are native to Africa and present in the forests of central parts of Africa. The Congo River separates the two species. The western lowland gorilla is the most widely distributed species.
  3. Gorillas are the largest living primates. The largest gorillas are eastern gorillas. Males of these gorillas can reach a height of 6.2 ft and attain a weight of around 450 lbs.
  4. Gorillas share 98.3% of genetic codes with humans. They are the closest relatives of humans after chimpanzees and bonobos.
  5. Several individual human genes are closer to gorillas than to chimpanzees. 15% of the human genome is nearer to gorillas than chimps, while 15% of chimpanzees’ genomes are similar to gorillas than humans. Gorillas have the best sense of hearing among apes. A genetic difference causes dementia in humans but doesn’t produce this condition in gorillas. (Source)
  6. Like humans and most other primates, each gorilla also possesses individual fingerprints. Gorillas can also be identified through their unique nose prints.
  7. Silverback gorillas can turn their body odor on or off according to requirements. They may release their stench to communicate with other social members and hide this odor from strangers. (Source)
  8. Gorillas are six times stronger than humans, while their bite force (1,300psi) is one of the strongest in the animal kingdom. Gorillas can run up to 25 mph, faster than any human.
  9. Gorillas rarely live beyond 50 years in the wild. The oldest recorded gorilla is a female named “Colo” who died at Columbus zoo after 60 years of age. (Source)
  10. Gorillas are the only primates that possess a type B blood group. They do not have any other blood type. (Source)
  11. Gorillas primarily eat plant food like fruits, leaves, stems, roots, etc. Few species also eat insects (ants and termites). Gorillas rarely drink water in the wild due to the abundance of water in the food they eat.
  12. The main natural predator of an adult gorilla is the leopard. Crocodiles are other potential predators of gorillas.
    A leopard in a zoo
    Leopards are the main predators of adult gorillas

  13. Gorillas have the second heaviest brain among primates after humans. But their brain-to-body ratio is the lowest among primates. As compared to curiosity in chimpanzees, gorillas are patient and calm.
  14. Major threats to gorillas are poaching (for bushmeat, traditional medicines, etc.), habitat destruction (due to mining, agriculture, road building, etc.), and diseases (especially the Ebola virus). (Source)
  15. Gorillas are social animals that live in groups, known as troops. The troops contain one to four adult males (silverbacks), several females, and their offspring. Silverbacks play a prominent role in groups.
  16. Gorillas have 16 different types of calls distributed in 8 categories. These are aggressive calls, fear calls, distress calls, and other vocalization categories. The most common vocalization is the belching sound. Gorillas also laugh while playing. Few sounds are gender or age-specific. (Source)
  17. Gorillas usually walk using their feet and hands. But they are capable of walking on their feet for a short period.
  18. Gorillas mostly build nests on the ground and sometimes in trees. They usually use leaves and branches as their nest-building materials. Unlike other primates, gorillas build temporary nests that they use just once and build a new nest daily. 


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