The largest primate, the Gorilla, can weigh up to 600 pounds. There are two types of gorilla: Eastern and Western, both groups having lowland gorillas. Eastern lowland gorillas are also called Grauer's gorilla. Western lowland gorillas are the largest group of gorillas living. Mountain gorillas belong to the Eastern type and Cross River gorilla to the Western.
Gorilla live in groups, called a “troop,” of an average of 5 to 9 gorilla depending on the species. The head of the group is called a silverback, the adult male. Males weigh in the 300-500 pound range, with females half that size. Babies from 1 to 3 years weigh about 20-30 pounds. They learn to walk at 5 to 6 months. They share mom’s nest until they are 4 to 6 years old.
Gorillas live in Africa in the following countries: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo. They live in forests, swampland and montane regions—montane means the upper slopes of mountains below the timberline.
The arms of a gorilla are longer than its legs. This enables them to walk on the knuckles of their hands—knuckle-walk. The different species of gorilla have different length and color of hair. Plus the shape of their skull and teeth size varies.
Gorillas are shy, non-aggressive animals. They never attack humans unless provoked. They will, however, fight for possession of a female as well as fight to defend their troop.
Fun Gorilla Facts
- The Mountain gorilla is especially susceptible to human diseases.
- Eastern gorilla are predominantly leaf eaters (folivorous), while Western gorilla eat lots of fruit, too.
- Each gorilla builds its own nest or sleeping platform, however, a nest is not used for more than one night.
- Mountain gorillas are the most critically endangered, though all gorilla are endangered by loss of habitat and people hunting for their meat which is called “bushmeat.”
- Gorillas have a unique nose print!
- The Western Lowland gorilla’s big toe is farther apart from his other four toes than other gorilla species.
Koko.org – The Gorilla Foundation
Smithsonian National Zoological Park