Hey kids! Did you know that gorillas are the largest living primates and close living relatives to humans? Do you want to learn about different types of gorillas, where they live, and what they eat? You have come to the right place. Check out these cool gorilla facts for kids!
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What are Gorillas?
Gorillas are primates. They are the largest living primates in the world. Humans are also primates. In fact, human DNA and gorilla DNA are similar, they are closely related to us. There are two main species of Gorillas. Eastern Lowland and Western Lowland Gorillas. Both types of gorillas are endangered species.
Gorillas are highly intelligent and have been taught and observed using tools in captivity.
They communicate using gestures, body postures, sounds, and slapping their chests. Some gorillas living in captivity have even been taught sign language.
Gorillas are shy animals, they are not aggressive.
Where do Gorillas Live?
Gorillas live in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Eastern and Western Gorilla territories are separated by the Congo River. Eastern Lowland Gorilla lives in Eastern Central Africa and the Western Lowland Gorilla lives in Western Central Africa.
The Eastern Lowland live in the tropical forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and along the borders of Uganda and Rwanda
Mountain Gorillas are a sub-species of Eastern Gorillas. Mountain Gorillas live in both mountains and forests. They live in cloud forests or sometimes called fog forests along the Virunga Mountains (also known as Mufumbiro) which are a chain of volcanos in Eastern Africa that are along the northern borders of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda. Cloud or fog forests are tropical and moist environments that have frequent low cloud cover meaning it looks foggy most of the time.
Western Lowland Gorillas live in the forests of Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Angola, and Nigeria.
Cross River Gorillas are a sub-species of the Western Gorilla. They live in the rain forests of Cameroon and Nigeria. These gorillas are critically endangered with only approximately 200-300 left living in the wild,
Gorillas build nests of put branches and leaves. Their nests are usually on the ground. Gorillas are social animals and live in groups called troops.
What do Gorillas Look Like?
Gorillas are large mammals with dark skin and black hair. Eastern Gorillas are darker than Western Gorillas and Mountain Gorillas are the darkest species. They are the largest primates in the world. Adult males can be up to 6 feet tall and weigh 500 pounds although the average weight is between 300-400 pounds. Female gorillas are smaller than males. On average female gorillas weigh between 150-250 pounds and are 4ft-5ft tall. Gorillas have very large heads they have 5 toes on each foot and 5 fingers on each hand. Both Eastern and Western Lowland Gorillas are slightly smaller than the Mountain Gorilla. Mountain Gorillas tend to be bulkier. Gorillas like all primates have distinct fingerprints that can be used to identify them. Gorillas have a small ear on each side of their head.
When male gorillas get older their black hair turns silver on their backs. When this happens the gorilla is known as a silverback.
Like humans, gorillas have 32 teeth. They also have two sets of teeth. One set of baby teeth and one set of adult teeth. Gorilla teeth are very strong.
Unlike humans, gorilla arms are longer than their legs. Gorillas walk using their legs and knuckles. Gorillas do not have tails.
What do Gorillas Eat?
Gorillas are herbivores meaning they eat plants and not meat. They will sometimes eat insects. Gorillas spend their day eating food, traveling, and resting. Gorillas will forage for leaves, fruits, berries, plants, shrubs, and vines to eat. They can eat up to 50 pounds of food each day.
A female Gorilla is pregnant between 8.5-9 months. They give birth to 1 baby at a time. A baby gorilla is called a baby or an infant. Baby gorillas will drink milk from their mother. When the baby is about 2.5 months old they will start eating some food. When they are about 7 months old they will have a full diet of food. A baby Gorilla starts to crawl around 2 months and walks by 9 months.
Young gorillas are very social and love to play. They will often play with other young gorillas living in their group. Young gorillas also love going to piggyback rides on their parent’s backs. They stay with their mothers for 3-4 years. Gorillas are very protective of their young in fact if two adult gorillas are becoming hostile with one another and a baby jumps on their parent’s back the two gorillas will stop fighting.
Fun Facts About Gorillas
They eat leaves, berries, plants, fruits, flowers, shrubs, vines, and sometimes small insects.
Gorillas can live 35 years in the wild and over 50 years in captivity.
A silverback gorilla is an adult male gorilla (around 12 years old). They are called silverback gorillas because the hair on their backs starts to turn from black to gray.
Gorillas live in groups of 6-12 called bands or troops. They consist mostly of one silverback, a couple of females, and their young.
Gorillas have no animal predators. Humans and loss of habitat are the two main predators. Gorillas are an endangered species. They are endangered mainly due to loss of habitat and being hunted by humans.