Gorilla – the largest monkey on Earth
Gorilla is the largest monkey in the world. Big, massive mouth and size make it seem very dangerous. However, it is just pretense – in fact, it is a very gentle animal. Gorilla is a herbivorous animal and lives in tropical forests in Africa.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Primates
- Suborder: Haplorhini
- Infraorder: Simiiformes
- Family: Hominidae
- Subfamily: Homininae
- Tribe: Gorillini
- Genus: Gorilla
Within the genus, two species, which include 4 subspecies have been classified:
Western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla)
- subspecies: Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)
- subspecies: Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli)
Eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei)
- subspecies: Mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei)
- subspecies: Eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri)
We know two types of gorillas: Western gorilla, living in moist forests of the plains of Gabon, Cameroon and parts of Congo, and Eastern gorilla occurring only in a small area in central Africa, in the Virunga mountains.
Individual gorilla populations inhabit various habitats from swamps and lowland areas to mountain forests at an altitude of 1600 m (5250 ft) above sea level (lowland gorillas) and 2200-4200 m (7200 – 13800 ft) above sea level (mountain gorillas).
Ways of communication
Gorillas communicate with each other not only with voice, but also with facial expressions. They are social animals, that’s why they live in groups. Gorillas spend most of their time eating. As they are vegetarians, they eat mainly leaves, young shoots and sometimes fruits.
They usually start their day walking around the nest and eating leaves and grass. Then comes the time of rest, during which the monkeys wander in the forest or just sleep. In the late afternoon, they start building nests, from properly bent branches, where they will spend the coming night. The group leader is usually the strongest male who chooses a resting place. When the dominant male gives a signal to build a nest, all members of the herd follow its example.
The breast stroke
In special circumstances, the gorilla can stand upright and hit the breast with its shoulders. It may display such behavior when it wants to scare the attacker or while playing.
Threatened with extinction
Gorillas are unfortunately endangered species. Poachers hunt for them mainly because of fur and skulls.
Detailed data and dimensions
- Height:7 – 1.8 m (5.6 – 6 ft) (females are lower)
- Shoulder span:3 – 2.6 m (7.5 – 8.5 ft) (shorter in females)
- males: 135 – 180 kg (298 – 397 lb), record 230 kg (507 lb)
- males in captivity: up to 270 kg (595 lb)
- females: 68 – 113 kg (150 – 249 lb)
- Arm span:3 – 2.6 m (7 ft 7 in – 8 ft 6 in)
- Lifespan: 35 – 40 years in the wild, 50 years and more in captivity (the oldest gorilla was 54 years old)
Gorilla – curiosities
- Gorilla is the biggest living ape.
- Gorilla is able to lift a weight of 980 kg (2160 lbs).
- There are only approx. 300 mountain gorillas living in freedom.
- Males have silver backs.
- The span of its arms may exceed 2,5 m (8.2 ft).
- Females and juveniles often climb the trees. The males usually stay on the ground due to their huge size.
- In captivity, gorillas may live even up to 50 years.