How big and Strong is a gorilla
How big and Strong is a gorilla? This is a question that is commonly asked by visitors looking to learn more or see gorillas in their natural habitat. Gorillas are listed as an endangered species on the ICUN Red List, with some subspecies like the Cross River gorillas and the Eastern lowland gorilla being listed as critically endangered.
Gorillas are the largest living primates/apes in the world and they live in the tropical rain forests and montane forests in West, East and Central Africa.
Mountain gorillas, which are listed as an endangered subspecies, can only be trekked in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Virunga National Park in Congo, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Back in the 19th Century, the number of mountain gorillas had greatly declined with the species almost becoming extinct. The existence of these gorilla species was being threatened by a number of factors such as; widespread poaching, habitat loss due to large-scale deforestation and encroachment on wetlands and forests to mention but a few. It is not until the late 1980s that wildlife conservationists and primatologists like Dian Fossey started conservation and research projects on gorillas in East and Central Africa.
Thanks to her conservation efforts, along with her research team at the Karisoke Research Institute in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, the number of mountain gorillas started increasing gradually. Currently, there are about 1000 mountain gorillas believed to be living in the wild today.
How big and strong is a gorilla?
Mature male gorillas are known as Silverbacks because of the white hair on their back which develops around the age of 14 years. Adult male gorillas are called black backs. Adult male gorillas have an average height of 1.4 to 1.8 meters, which is about 4 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall. They have an arm span that stretches from 2.3 to 2.6 meters while female gorillas have smaller arm spans.
Adult female gorillas are shorter than the males reaching an average height of 1.25 to 1.5 meters tall. Silverback mountain gorillas can measure up to 1.52 meters tall, although some can grow to about 2.25 meters tall. The tallest gorilla recorded was a silverback in Alimbongo in northern Kivu and it measured at 1.95 meters in height with an arm span of 2.7 meters, a chest of 1.98 meters, and weighed 219 kilograms. However the gorilla died in May 1938 after being shot by poachers in Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
How much do gorillas weigh?
Adult male gorillas on average can weigh up to 440 pounds, about 198-200 kg. Wild male gorillas can weigh between 136 to 195 kg (300 to 430 pounds), while female gorillas can weigh about half as much as adult males at 68 to 113 kg (150 to 250 pounds). The heaviest gorilla ever recorded was a silverback that was shot dead in Ambam, Cameroon and weighed 267 kg (about 589 pounds). In captivity, male gorillas can weigh up to 310 kg, which is about 683 pounds. Gorillas are so strong, with silverbacks capable of lifting heavy weights of up to 815 kilograms.
How closely related are gorillas to humans?
Gorillas are also intelligent creatures and share about 98% of their DNA with humans. They are our closest relatives after chimpanzees and bonobos. They are social apes and live in groups/families of about 5 to 30 members. Gorillas can also acquire diseases similar to those that affect human beings such as; flu, cough, Ebola as well as Arthritis, which affects their joints, fingers, hands and feet. Just like humans, mountain gorillas also suffer from loss of teeth at an old age. This affects their normal feeding routine, as it becomes difficult for the gorilla to eat at the normal pace like the others. Mountain gorillas also mourn the loss of member, and can be seen gathering around the corpse of a dead gorilla.
How often do gorillas give birth?
A female mountain gorilla often gives birth to one baby every 4-6 years, and only three or four babies over her entire lifetime. Female gorillas have a gestation period of 8½ months. Male gorillas sexually mature at a later age as compared to the females.
What do gorillas eat?
Gorillas are majorly herbivorous animals. Their diet mainly comprises plant stems, leaves, fruits, flowers and bamboo shoots. Mountain gorillas can eat half of their body weight, which is about 50 pounds of leafy foods per day. Their diet also consists of insects, snails and ants; thus making them partially omnivorous mammals.
Gorilla trekking tours in Africa offer visitors with an opportunity to see gorillas in their natural habitats. Gorilla trekking activities are best done in countries like Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Visitors interested in trekking mountain gorillas must book their gorilla trekking permits at least 6 months in advance. Gorilla trekking permits cost USD 600 to USD 700 dollars in Uganda, USD 1500 in Rwanda and USD 400 dollars per person in Congo.