Interesting Facts About The Gorilla
A gorilla is a fascinating creature and of course, the most striking feature of it is its massive size. Its broad chest and shoulders, and short trunk may seem frightening for some people, but this animal is shy in nature. Then again, just like any other animals, gorillas can be really scary when provoked. Eastern Lowland gorillas, Western Lowland Gorillas and mountain gorillas, along with their subspecies, are also classified as gorilla.
An average male gorilla can grow as tall as 165 to 175 centimeters and weigh approximately 140 to 200 kilograms. A female gorilla, on the other hand, can grow up to 140 centimeters and is about 100 kilograms in weight. Baby gorillas weigh approximately 4 ½ pounds.
Gorillas are now facing threats due to habitat invasion. Loss of forests result to the depletion of gorilla population and today, only a few countries are able to maintain forests that can serve as habitat for this animal. The western gorilla can be found in western area of Central Africa. Western gorillas prefer to inhabit elevated regions that are approximately 600 meters above sea level, and they are often found in swamp forests and montane areas. Western lowland gorillas, on the other hand, prefer lowland forest areas with 1600 meters elevation. Among all subspecies of gorillas, the western lowland gorillas are the most widespread, as they can be found in various countries, such as Central African Republic, Cameroon, Congo, Angola, Gabon and Guinea.
Eastern gorillas, on the other hand, inhabit the eastern part of Central Africa. There are two subspecies for eastern gorillas - eastern lowland gorillas or Grauer's gorilla and mountain gorillas. The latter inhabits the subtropical and tropical forests of the region, while the former prefers the mountainous bamboo forests.
As mentioned, gorillas are shy creatures but they can also become fierce, especially if they need to defend themselves or their family. Gorillas are completely devoted to all members of its family and of its group consisting of about 30 members. A group of gorillas normally have one older male and one older female. Silverback gorillas are always the head of the group - a male gorilla that is 12 years old and dominant in nature. Silverback pertains to the silver patch of hair on their back.
The gorillas use their knuckles to move around and they may continue to wander for 10 to 15 miles. This mammal also loves to stay with their group and make use of new grasses and branches to create comfortable areas where they can rest. Gorillas use a couple of facial expressions when communicating with other gorillas. Sometimes, they would protrude their tongue forward, slap their chest, use different vocal sounds or even laugh when they are being tickled. The way these mammals express their feelings can be compared to humans, though they cannot really speak or communicate.
A gorilla's diet consist of stems, fruits, barks, and leaves, bamboo, vines and various types of such things because of their huge appetite. Most gorillas can be considered herbivorous, as they can also be dependent on what is available in their habitat. Western lowland gorillas prefer lots of fruits for their diet, as that is what is available in lowland areas. However, in case of food scarcity, gorillas may also eat insects, slugs or snails just to protect themselves from hunger.
Female gorillas can get pregnant and give birth at the age of 10. Males, on the other hand, breed by the time they reach the age of 12 or 15. Females can produce one young gorilla that may become independent by the time it reaches the age of 3 ½ years old.
Gorilla population continuous to decline due to loss of habitat. People surrounding their habitats continue to clear off forest lands for agricultural purposes. Central Africa is dependent on timber export, which is abundantly available in Congo rainforests. A huge portion of the area - home to gorillas - are now being leased by several logging companies, thus leading to the destruction of their habitats. Aside from the continuously declining population, the reproduction rate of gorillas is relatively slower.
Females give birth to one baby every 4 to 5 years. Due to this, the mortality rate of gorillas exceeds the birthrate. The slow reproduction rate and depleting habitat affects the population of gorillas. However, stopping the act of deforestation in various zones can surely make a difference in terms of their survival rate.