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Mountain gorilla

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Mountain gorilla
Mountain gorilla line.jpg
Scientific Classification
Trinomial Name

Gorilla beringei beringei

Mountain Gorillas live in Africa and there are only about 10,000 left in world. They are the largest primates and are normally gentle. They are very similar to humans in many ways such as, caring for their young and possessing an opposable thumb. This report will further detail the specifics of these magnificent animals.


Mountain Gorillas have very long arms and are in fact larger than their legs. They have a large muscular body with a wide chest. They can get as tall as 5 feet. Male mountain gorillas might weigh as much as 400 pounds while a female usually weighs around 200 pounds. Gorillas are 98% genetically identical to humans.

Hair and Skin: They have brownish hair which covers most their body.

The Head: Mountain Gorillas have a very large head with a bulging forehead. They also have tiny ears, and small dark-brown eyes. Gorillas have no tail. Adult gorillas have 32 teeth. All Gorillas have a unique nose print like humans have unique finger prints.

Senses: Their senses are similar to humans including their hearing, sight (most are near sighted), smell, taste, and touch.

Hands and Feet: Their hands are very much like ours they have five fingers including an opposable thumb. Their feet have five toes. All Gorillas can grasp things with both their hands and their feet. [1]


Mountain Gorilla males mature later than females and do not breed until they reach 15 to 20 years of age. Half of all males leave their natural groups at puberty and travel alone or with another male until they establish their own group. Once a male has established a group he will stay with that group for life unless he is out-casted by the other males.

Adult females give birth to one baby about every 4 years although a surviving infant is produced only every 6 to 8 years. A baby gorilla is born weighing 4 - 4.4 pounds after a gestation period of 251 - 295 days. Babies are carried around by their mothers and begin to walk after 30 to 40 weeks. Infants breast feed for about 12 months. [2]


Wild mountain gorillas at the Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda Africa.

All mountain gorillas alternate short periods of rest, feeding and travel during their day. They do not move around much. On any given day the group will travel less than a third of a mile. The range where they will travel is usually less than a 6 square mile area. This daily travel pattern determines their feeding cycle too. Their staple diet is found in the area's vegetation. Mountain Gorillas consume terrestrial plants. They eat the stems, leaves and roots. They prefer bamboo shoots if they are in the immediate area and will spend a good portion of their feeding time digging for these shoots. Since fruits do not grow readily in the mountainous region their diet is low in fruit. Mountain gorillas are mostly herbivores but will supplement their food with ants, grubs & termites. Mountain gorillas do not compete for food but are flexible and will eat a wide variety of readily available foods in the area. 50-60 pounds of food can be eaten by an adult mountain gorilla every day.

Social Habits

Communication is an important part of the mountain gorillas social group. They often use facial expressions. A wide open mouth bearing their teeth can signal anger. Clenched teeth can also mean anger or frustration. To scare away danger a gorilla may scream or charge. Male mountain gorillas will often beat their chest to try to intimidate or scare a potential threat. A common demonstration of being content for gorillas is after a meal they "purr" or belch.

Grooming is another important social function of the gorilla group. This is how they keep their coats clean. The mother gorilla will pick and clean her offspring.

By and large though mountain gorillas are shy yet social beings that are active during the daytime. At night they build sleeping nests from the surrounding plants and twigs. Mothers will sleep with their young by curling up. [3]