Here are some of the most exciting gorilla facts for kids including real insights about the gorillas diet, habitat, reproduction, and behavior. Gorillas are the largest primates that belong to the genus eponymous. These mammals are primarily herbivorous and are known to spend all their time on grounds all throughout central Africa and other tropical forests.
Gorillas are also considered to be the bordering relatives of humans with their DNA resembles very much to that of humans. Chimpanzee is another animal that features these characteristics. They are naturally adaptable to dwelling in tropical as well as subtropical forests. Gorillas are mostly found at the higher tropical ranges but they do not cover most of the Africa’s range.
One of gorilla species that is mountain gorillas reside at a height of about 2,200 – 4,300 meters (7,200 – 14,100 feet) in Albertine Rift cloud forests in Vriunga Volcanoes. The lowland species are adept to live in thick forests together with marshes and swamps. The eastern gorillas inhabit in Congo while the western species live in Central West African countries.
Chimpanzees and humans are considered to be the nearest relatives of gorillas and are believed to have been evolved from a shared ancestor some 7 million years ago. There is a slight variation of human genes from the gorilla genes and that counts to 1.6%. There are around three subspecies of gorillas which are; western lowland gorilla, eastern lowland gorilla, and the mountain gorilla.
The gorilla species differs on the basis of size, culture, facial widths, density, length, and hair. There are almost 100,000 lowland gorilla species are believed to survive in the wild out of which 4,000 individuals are captive in zoos. Of all the gorilla species, mountain gorillas are listed as extremely endangered as there are only 620 species left in the wild with no one representing in zoos.
- These types of mammals are widely known for knuckle-walking and they seldom walk bipedally for short vastness which is particularly true when they are carrying any food or defending themselves.
- The weight of an adult male gorilla measures around 135 – 180 kg (300 – 400 lb).
- The adult female gorillas are 68 – 113 kg (150 – 250 lb).
- The length of adult male gorilla measures around 1.7 – 1.8 meters (5.6 – 5.9 feet).
- The arm span of these mammals is about 2.3 – 2.6 meters (7.5 – 8.5 feet).
- As compared to the adult male gorillas, the females have shorter arm spans.
- The silverback gorillas weigh around 230 kg (510 lb), with the length of 1.8 meters (5 ft 11 inches). The heavy gorillas can be as much as 270 kg (600 lb).
- They have a prominent sagittal chest.
- The western gorillas are less brightly-colored as compared to the eastern ones, and the mountain gorillas are the brightest of all species. The mountain gorilla can also be distinguished by its dense hair.
- The hair-coloration of western lowland gorillas ranges from brown, grayish to the reddish brown.
- The species that reside in the lowland tropical forests are slightly slimmer and quick than the mountain gorillas. The eastern gorilla species are more likely to have elongated face coupled with the extended chest in comparison to the western gorillas.
- One of the strange gorilla facts for kids is that they do have fingerprints just like humans.
- They have dark brown colored eyes.
- One of the primary causes of gorilla’s deaths is cardiovascular disease.
- Leopards are the foremost predators of gorillas. The silverback gorillas are supposed to defend their groups from these potential predators even by risking their lives.
- Gorillas are always found in groups and these groups are mainly comprised of adult male and silverback female gorillas.
- The lifespan of silverback is typically more than 12 years.
- The lifespan of blackbacks is 8 – 12 years.
- The female gorillas are known to have aggressive attitude towards each other.
- Gorillas normally build their nests for resting. These nests measure around 2 – 5 feet (0.61 – 1.5 meters). They tend to find opportunistic site for their nesting.
Dig Deeper: What Do Gorillas Eat?
These types of mammals have irregular distribution. The western gorillas inhabit in west central Africa, and the eastern species dwells in the east central Africa. The se wild animals are known to reside in diverse habitats and ranges.
Gorillas for the most part live in the swamps, marshes, and montane forests. Eastern gorillas live in the submontane and montane forests between 650 – 4000 meters (2132 – 13,123 feet) above sea level.
Mountain gorillas are found at the higher range of habitats while the eastern lowland gorillas are known to reside at the inferior ends of the habitat range. Besides, the eastern lowland gorillas inhabit in the lowland and montane bamboo forests ranging from 600 – 3308 meters (1969 – 10,853 feet).
Dig Deeper: Where Do Gorillas Live?
Western gorilla is the only species that can be found in montane forests as well as swamp forests, with the elevations ranging from 1600 meters (5249 feet) above the sea level. Western gorillas are known to reside in the lowland forests along with the swamps that range from 1600 meters (5249 feet). The Cross River species inhabits in the submontane forests ranging from 150 – 1600 meters (492-5249 feet).
Feeding Ecology & Diet
These animals spend their daily time in three main activities that are feeding, traveling, and resting. There is a slight variation in the gorillas diet within species. The mountain gorillas predominantly feed on stems, leaves, shoots, pith, fruits, and foliage.
Apart from all these foods, mountain gorillas largely rely on fruits that make bulk of their diet. Bamboo is one of their favorites which they often take on when and as offered. For the reason that mountain gorillas have extremely varied diet, the groups don’t often fall into conflict with each other.
These species cover 3 – 15 km2 (1.16 – 5.79 sq. miles) and they tend to cover 500 meters (0.311 miles) each day. Mountain gorillas tend to live in diverse habitats.
Some of the gorillas diet varies according to the seasonal availability of food. In general, leaves and pith are consumed, while fruits comprise almost 25% of their diet. They had to travel great distances in order to enjoy fruits as they are not easily accessible especially in lowland tropical forests.
These distances include 2.7 – 6.5 sq. km (1.04 – 2.51 sq. miles), with average distance covered each day ranges from 154 – 2280 meters (0.096 – 1.42 miles). Eastern lowland gorillas are also known to consume insects, with special preference to ants. Western gorillas primarily rely on fruits for their daily consumption.
Ants and termites also make most of their diet. Gorillas seldom drink water for the reason that the succulent vegetation, that they eat more often, is composed of water which is enough for them.
- Female gorillas reach the maturity age after 10 – 12 years although this can be earlier when they’re kept in captivity.
- The male gorillas become mature after 11 – 13 years.
- The period of estrous cycle ranges from 30 – 33 days.
- The period of gestation ranges from 8.5 months.
- The young gorillas will stay with their mothers for the first five months while mothers will stay in close proximity to the silverbacks for protection.
- The infants began to part from their mothers after they reach 18 – 21 years of age.
- The average lifespan of gorillas is about 35 – 40 years, with those living in captivity are known to live for about 50 years. The oldest gorilla lived was Jenny at the Dallas Zoo and he died at the age of 55.