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Exciting Facts about mountain gorillas – Way of life and things to know about the gorillas of Africa

Facts about mountain gorillas: Mountain gorillas are without a few most fascinating mammal species on earth. Viewing these large apes in the wild offers the most memorable experience of a lifetime, giving you a clear picture of how we humans are so much related to them. On gorilla safari in Africa, mountain gorillas are a few intriguing creatures you must see.

Facts about mountain gorillasMountain gorillas are part of the 4 distinct types of gorillas in Africa and the rest include the western lowland gorilla, cross-river gorilla and grauer’s gorilla or eastern lowland gorilla. However, mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas are the two sub-species of the Eastern gorilla. Mountain gorillas are distinct in that they survive only in the wild and never in the zoo or captive environment.

Mountain gorillas live in only 3 countries in the world

Listed by IUCN as endangered species, mountain gorillas remain fewer than 1063 individuals on earth today. They survive in the natural habitat specifically in the rain-forests of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Uganda holds a huge profusion of the endangered mountain gorillas which can be trekked in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

In Rwanda, mountain gorillas are seen in only Volcanoes National Park and in the D.R. Congo, they survive within the Virunga National Park. Mountain gorillas live in the mountain areas of altitudes 4500m. On gorilla trekking to see them involves navigating via the dense forests for 2-6 hours with lead of an experienced park guide.

Life expectancy

In average, mountain gorillas can survive for 35-50 years in the natural habitat. However, their lives are highly threatened by many factors including natural causes, infectious diseases, accidents etc.

Gorillas live in families

Mountain gorillas like other subspecies live in small group families. In each family, there are about 10 members with each led by one mature male called silverback. The silverbacks in the families can be identified easily with their greyish hair on the back.

Size of mountain gorillas

Size of mountain gorillasGorillas are the biggest primates with an adult mountain gorilla standing 4-6ft/1.2-1.8m in height. But the silverback gorilla can be bigger than this estimated average size. They have longer arms than legs, they walk on knuckles also best known as knuckle-walking. Knuckle-walking offers a more balance to gorillas when climbing trees or steep hills. In average, mountain gorillas weigh up to 250kgs compared to average human weight of 65-70kgs. In terms of strength, mountain gorillas are stronger than humans about 6times.

Distinct fingerprint nose patterns

Mountain gorillas feature distinct fingerprints just like humans. Besides, they have a unique nose pattern which is specific to each gorilla and this is what differentiates each of them.

Mountain gorillas are herbivores

Mountain gorillas like other subspecies of gorillas depend largely on vegetation-they feed on roots, tree barks, leaves, fruits, tree pulps. In most of their habitat, there is bamboo which they feed on either stems or shoots. Because they largely feed on succulent vegetation, they hardly drink water. On average, an adult gorilla can eat up to 25kgs of vegetation compared 4 pounds for a human being. They feed starting from morning to evening when they make new nests.


Mountain gorillas take 8.5 months to give birth. This is slightly the same gestation period of humans. One baby is normally produced at a time and on a rare occasion, they give birth to twins. On average, females produce three babies in their lifetime. However, they are highly intelligent creatures sharing over 98% of their DNA with humans and capable of using different tools to perform various tasks. Due to higher DNA match to that of humans, mountain gorillas are susceptible to human infectious diseases especially respiratory viruses.

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