We Gorillas are the biggest and strongest apes. Many of you probably think we are chest-pounding, roaring, charging, scary brutes. But the fact is, though we‛re strong, we are peaceful, gentle and social creatures.
Our genus is Gorilla with two species based on where we live. So our scientific names are Gorilla the biggest of all and Gorilla Beringei living in the east and west of the rain forests. We are split into four such as eastern lowland gorillas, eastern mountain gorillas, western lowland gorillas and western Cross River gorillas.
Our mountain gorilla cousins live in the volcanic mountain forests in the eastern region. They have thick fur to withstand a cold climate. There are cloud forests and bamboo forests in this region where we live.
We are herbivores and like to eat leaves, stalks, roots, bamboo shoots, sap, fruits and water plants.
A few like mountain gorillas eat ants, worms, termites, larvae, insects and worms. But we do not drink water. We get enough water from our food and sometimes dew drops. We eat upto 30kg(66 pounds) of plants daily.
We are strong, powerful and the largest living primates.
Adult gorillas grow up to a height of 5.5 feet and weigh 297 to 485 pounds (134-219 kg). Females are a bit shorter and weigh 154 to 198 pounds. The young male gorillas aged 8 to 12 years with only black hair are called Blackbacks. The hair color on the backs and stomachs of adult males of age 14 years and more changes to silver and gray and therefore called Silverbacks. They also get a crest on top of the head. Eastern Gorillas are jet black and western gorillas are deep gray-brown.
We are strong, but do you know? We are afraid of small Chameleons and Caterpillars.
We are also scared of water and cross streams only on fallen legs. And, we don‛t like rain too.
We have many styles of communication like sounds, postures, gestures and facial actions on the face. We make about 22 different sounds to express our feelings like friendly burps, playful chuckles, grunts, hoots, screams out of fear, alarm bark, loud roar. We show our emotions when we feel happy, sad, scared and angry. We laugh and cry to show our feelings.
When the Silverback our troop leader finds a new lush of greenery for food he will start to sing. All family members gather around and join him in singing the chorus.
Adult males beat their chests to attract females or frighten rivals. It can be heard over a kilometer (0.62 miles) away.
An hour before sunset we build nests on the ground or trees depending on safety & security and go to bed by nightfall.
We sleep 12 hours a night, but sometimes up to 17 hours! Mountain Gorillas construct new nests every evening.
For 2 centuries, our numbers dwindled because of human poaching, hunting, wars civil conflict in our habitats, ebola virus and we became almost extinct. Recent efforts by organizations and governments, and the creation of new sanctuaries and gorilla forests are thankfully beginning to make a change.
Individuals like you can also help in these efforts and if all such efforts gain speed quickly, our genus will not disappear from the earth like the Dodo!
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