Silverback Gorilla

The Facts

  • Genus/Species: Gorilla gorilla beringei
  • Conservation Status: Endangered
  • Location: Africa, on the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Silverback Gorilla
Silverback Gorilla
Silverback Gorilla
Silverback Gorilla
Silverback Gorilla
Silverback Gorilla

The Scoop

The Rarest Gorilla 

Silverback gorillas live high in the mountains in two protected parks in Africa. They are also referred to as mountain gorillas. Silverback gorillas continually wander through their home ranges of 10 to 15 square miles, feeding and resting throughout the day. Because gorillas are nomadic, they build new nests each day at dusk, constructing them out of bent branches in a tree or of grasses on the ground. Silverback gorillas have long black hair and their thick, shaggy coats help to keep them warm in cold climates. Adult male mountain gorillas are called Silverbacks because of the silver saddle of hair on their backs. Mountain gorillas have a stocky build, with a broad chest, long, muscular arms and wide feet and hands. Their arms are longer than their legs. Gorillas live in groups. Each gorilla family has a silverback as leader who scares away other animals by standing erect on its hind legs, tearing  up and throwing plants, drumming on the chest with its hands or fists, stamping its feet, striking the ground with its palms and galloping in a mock attack on all fours!

Silverback Gorillas are around six feet tall - about the height of an adult male - while females are around five feet tall. Silverback gorillas weigh approximately 350 pounds- about twice the weight of normal adult man.  Gorillas are herbivores, and eat only plants. They spend most of their day foraging for food and eating bamboo and leafy plants 

Silverback gorillas were not even known to exist until 1902.Today, their habitat is being destroyed when people use the land for farming and the trees for fuel. Gorillas are also killed by poachers and sometimes get caught in poacher’s snares meant for other animals. The Silverback Gorilla is the most endangered species of Gorilla.


Did You Know?

  • The silverback gorilla will protect the group to the extent of sacrificing his own life.
  • Adult gorillas can eat up to 30 kilograms of food each day.
  • Silverback gorillas are very intelligent animals. They are known for their use of tools and their varied communication. Some gorillas in captivity at a zoo have been taught to use sign language.
  • Silverback gorillas are close relatives to humans, sharing around 98% of the same DNA.


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