…Did You Know?
Gorilla Physical Characteristics
- The gorilla is the largest of all primates.
- Western lowland adult male gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) are about 1.7 m (66.9 in) in body length and weigh about 169.5 kg (374 lb). Adult females are about 1.5 m (59.1 in) in body length and weigh about 71.5 kg (158 lb).
- Adult male mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) may weigh up to 220 kg (484 lb) and females weigh about 97.7 kg (215 lb).
- Cross River gorillas (Gorilla gorilla diehli) have been difficult to study due to their shy nature. However, it is estimated that an adult male weighs about 180 kg (396 lb).
- Eastern lowland gorillas (Gorilla berengei graueri) are slightly larger than the western species, with adult males weighing up to 220 kg (484 lb) and females weighing about 80 kg (176 lb).
Gorilla Daily Activities
- Gorillas spend about 14 hours feeding and foraging and about 10 hours resting every day.
- Gorillas move about 400-1,000 meters (0.24-0.60 mi) per day which is about 88-219 miles per year.
- Feeding/foraging activity peaks during the first three to four hours of the day. Then there is usually an extended rest period during midday until mid-late afternoon at which point feeding/foraging activity resumes.
- Gorillas construct “beds” to sleep in at the end of the day. They gather vegetation around them in trees or on the ground. Gorillas construct a new nest each night because they travel to different locations during the day foraging. The daily construction of new nests also helps avoid parasites that may nest in the bedding.
Gorillas primarily inhabit tropical forest habitats. Tropical forests are characterized as having little variance in temperature (around 23°C) and length of daylight (around 12 hours). However, rainfall varies considerably in the tropics and is a primary factor as to the type of vegetation that grows in an area.
- Lowland areas of tropical forests usually have a prolonged dry season and usually consist of thorny shrubs, trees, and succulents (plants that are able to store water in their cells).
- Other areas that have distinct wet and dry seasons are usually composed of tropical deciduous forests. Deciduous trees and shrubs lose their leaves during the dry season and generate new leaves when it rains.