Mountain gorillas live in families consisting of about 25 to 35 members with a leading male – the silverback gorilla with many females and their young ones.
A baby Gorilla weighs 2.5kg at birth but its weight grows twice faster the growth of a human baby! A baby Gorilla takes approximately 10 months to walk and slowly gets independent of the mother at 3 years old. At six years a Gorilla is about 1.20 meter tall and weighs almost 70 kg. The females are mature enough at six, though they continue to gain weight up-to 10 years old. Male Gorillas strictly reach maturity at ten years old; their black back starts turning into grey (silver back) – it is time for them to leave the parental group. He will move alone or join other males for some time, before attracting females to join them and form their own Gorilla family.
An ordinary day in the life of a mountain gorilla starts at sunrise, around 6 am. Mountain Gorillas wake up early to begin looking for food for most of the morning hours. Usually a gorilla spends most of the time resting about 40% of total time. In contrast to other primates, the gorilla lives mainly on the ground and do not prey more than a kilometer per day within their territory of about 20 square kilometers.
Gorillas are vegetarians by menu, though they occasionally eat ants and other insects. The daily meal consists of roots, leaves, stems and pith of herbs among other food. During certain months of the year bamboo shoots supply a major part in their diet as well. A male adult can even eat up to 20 kg per day! Because the gorillas receive a large quantity of water from its diet, they rarely have to drink.
The afternoons are mainly spent with resting and playing. This last activity is very important in the social life, especially for young gorillas, as it determines their integration into the group. They hug each other, bite, hit or wrestle till one is pulled down on the ground.
At the end of the day, just before dusk, the great apes start constructing a nest where they will spend their night. Every single gorilla has its own nest, except for the infants who sleep next to their mothers. Nests are built on the ground or in trees and are carefully constructed by branches of bushes among other plants.
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