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30 amazing facts about gorillas

There are many wonders surrounding gorillas and research has continued to provide us with many amazing facts that are mind-blowing about these elusive and giant primates.

As we begin the year, we bring you 25 of the most amazing and common facts about gorillas

1. Gorillas live in social groups or families just like humans

2. The number of gorillas each vary from as low as 2 to as many as 65 though the average size of a gorilla family is about 15 members

3. Each gorilla group is made up of several females and their young ones but they are all led by one strong male known as silverback

4. Adult male gorillas can be about six feet when standing on two legs and this is taller than the average height of an adult human

5. Gorillas have opposable digits both on their hands and feet

6. While humans have unique fingerprints, gorillas have unique nose prints

7. Gorillas have a similar respiratory system to that of humans and this is why it is very easy to pass to each other illnesses like flu or common cold

8. Although the oldest gorilla recorded died at 63 years old, the average life expectancy for these apes is in the mid 30s

9. Male gorillas can weigh up to 450 pounds

10. Young gorillas stay close to their moms up to around 3 years while they completely leave their family group at around 10 years of age especially the males

11. Gorillas are completely vegetarian basically feeding on bamboo shoots, wild fruits and tree barks

12. Due to the tannins in their regular diet, mountain gorilla teeth and tongues are stained black

13. Although gorilla hair looks soft, it’s actually a lot more coarse than human hair and mountain gorillas tend to have more of on their body than other gorilla species due to living at a higher altitude which is colder.

14. Gorillas and humans share about 98 percent of DNA, perhaps the most common feature between the two species

15. Gorillas regularly construct their nests in which they sleep at several places where the night finds them

16. Like humans, gorillas also mourn their dead while crying and after try to cover the body with leaves and tree branches

17. At birth, infant gorillas weigh about 4 pounds

18. Silverbacks and blackbacks that have failed to find females to form their own groups end up forming all-male groups known as “bachelor” groups

19. Male gorillas start growing silver hair on their backs around the age of 13, after which they are referred to as “silverbacks” while before this stage they are called “blackbacks “

20. Gorillas cover an average distance of 1 mile as they travel per day

21. Gorillas usually beat their chests and this may be a sign of playing or aggression depending on the circumstance they find themselves

22. Today there are about 1,000 mountain gorillas in the wild, a significant increase from about 250 gorillas that were estimated to be in the wild four decades ago

23. Mountain gorillas are found only in 3 countries in the world, that is Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

24. Majority of the mountain gorillas live in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park while the rest live in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda), Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda), and Virunga National Park (DRC)

25. Some gorilla families switch locations between Uganda and Rwanda in search for food and an increased habitat

26. The Fossey Fund (based in Rwanda and DRC) that helps to protect gorillas is the major organization for gorilla conservation and it has played a leading role in helping the gorilla population to rise

27. Karisoke Research Center in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is the longest running gorilla research site in the world, being in existence for over 50 years

28. Trekkers who visit gorillas are allowed to stay with them for only one hour as a measure of promoting their conservation

29. Rwanda holds an annual gorilla-naming ceremony in September each year known as “Kwita Izina” in which newborn gorillas are given names at Volcanoes National Park

30. There are two major species of gorillas namely the Eastern gorilla and the Western gorilla. Each group has got two subspecies including mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas under the eastern gorilla while western lowland gorilla and Cross river gorilla belong to the western gorilla group.

Click here to inquire about a gorilla safari in Uganda, Rwanda or DR Congo