IntroductionThe Silverback Gorilla, a type of ape found in tropical rainforests, is also known as the Mountain Gorilla or the Eastern Lowland Gorilla. The fact that there are roughly 700 Silverbacks left in existence today reflects what humans have done to the population. When we continually cut down trees where gorillas live, we are slowly destroying their habitat which is one of the reasons why they have become an endangered animal. Poachers who capture and kill these animals to make a profit are also contributing to their decline. If aggressive action is not taken to preserve Gorillas and their habitat, kids of future generations may never know what its like to see a real Gorilla. More interesting information about this species is listed below.
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Silverback Gorilla General Facts
- Their natural habitat is the tropical rainforest of Central Africa.
- Silverback Gorilla is the name given to the adult male Gorillas because of the silvery fur running across their backs and hips.
- Humans and gorillas have a very similar genetic makeup. These close relatives share 98% of our DNA.
- Gorillas live in groups or communities with a clearly defined social structure. A dominant alpha leads the group of other males, females and young in daily activities such as eating and sleeping.
- Adult male Gorillas are approximately six times as strong as a man.
- Standing at up to 6 feet tall (182 cm) with arms that extend up to 8 feet (243 cm) wide, Gorillas are the largest living primates.
- Gorillas are mainly herbivores that feast on a variety of roots, plants, herbs, fruit, bamboo, tree bark and occasionally, insects. Adults can easily eat up to 66 pounds (30 Kg) of food per day.
- Gorillas in the wild can live from 40-50 years and slightly longer in captivity.
- Gorillas spend the morning and evening hours actively searching for and eating food while midday is spent playing and resting. Each evening they make their own nests, mostly out of vegetation, before going to sleep for approximately 13 hours.
- Gorillas are known for being very intelligent animals. In the wild they communicate through vocalizations, body language, facial expressions and gestures. In captivity they have been known to learn sign language.
- Although generally quiet and calm animals, they can become aggressive towards one another. Dominant males, in particular, will beat their chest, scream, roar and bark while standing upright in a show of power.
Silverback Gorilla Breeding Facts
- Breeding for females usually takes place around age ten but can sometimes be a little earlier. It is around this time that the females leave their original family group in search of another group. Males leave their families a little later at about 11 years old.
- Gorillas give birth to one baby at a time and just like humans, the gestation period for Gorillas is nine months.
- Newborns are kept very close to the mother for the first few months. When they reach about 4 months, the mothers begin to carry the young on their backs.
- In stark contrast to the adult Gorilla that can weigh between 200-400 pounds (90-181 kg), the newborn babies are born very small weighing in at just 4 pounds (2 kg).