There are so many mountain gorilla characteristics. Apparently, there are less than 1000 mountain gorillas left in the world with Bwindi Impenetrable National Park harboring half of that population. Tourists can compliment their gorilla trekking safari by conquering the summits of some Virunga Volcanoes for striking views of nature. Standing at Mount Sabyinyo’s peak means standing in three countries (Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo) at once. Besides the compliments, this article lists most of the characteristics of mountain gorillas in Africa.
Trekking mountain gorillas is one of the most sought tourist activities in Africa. Gorillas can only be found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and along the Virunga Area, an area that comprises of Virunga National Park in Congo, Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The mountain gorillas along the Virunga Conservation Area live at the foothills of the forested Virunga Mountains. These mountains include Mount Karisimbi, Mount Mikeno, Mount Bisoke, Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Nyamuragira, Mount Nyiragongo, Mount Muhabura and Mount Gahinga.
Mountain Gorilla Characteristics
Gorillas inhabit tropical forests with thick bamboo trees. They can hardly survive in zoos and die after a short time. The gorillas found in zoos are lowland gorillas.
Mountain gorillas are very gentle animals. However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that they are wild animals and will charge severely when they sense danger.
Mountain gorillas have short trunks with wide shoulders and chests. The eyes and ears are dwarfed by a large muscle just like the head.
Mountain gorillas can be identified with their nose prints. Just like humans, their nose prints are identical to each individual.
Gorillas move in groups of 5-30 members. Each family is led by a dominant silverback that dictates and makes rules in the group. This is one of the most interesting facts about mountain gorillas.
Mountain gorillas stay in higher altitude places that sometimes get very cold. They have thick hair and fur in their bodies that can help them to adapt to this environment.
Gorillas can fetch food like ants using stems from holes and can also store foodstuff in their mouth.
When gorillas charge, they will scream, stamp the ground, tear vegetation, and stand on hind legs. During such situations, the silverback also makes signals to the rest of the family so that they take cover.
A female mountain gorilla will give birth to 2-5 offsprings in a lifetime. They start giving birth at the age of 10 years. Their gestation period goes for about 8-9 months.
Mountain gorillas also have milk teeth that later get replaced by permanent teeth. The teeth of gorillas are 32 in number, just like for humans.
Gorillas are bound to be affected by diseases like cold, flu, pneumonia, Ebola and many more infectious diseases. They mostly get infected with diseases through transmission from human beings or from climatic changes, like when it’s too cold they can acquire pneumonia.
Mountain gorillas share over 98% DNA with humans, making them human’s closest relatives after chimpanzees. They also have feet like for humans.
The baby mountain gorillas are born weighing 4 pounds just like humans. They always breastfeed for 1 year and cling often to their mother’s backs from the age of 2-4 years.
The dominating silverback gorillas will protect their families even at the expense of their lives. The female mountain gorillas, on the other hand, take charge of protecting their babies.
Mountain gorillas eat a range of foods like bamboo, shoot, stems, fruits, flowers, leaves, bulbs, tree bark and more. They also complement their diet with termites and ants.
Gorillas rarely drink water because most of the food they consume contains large amounts of water. They also fear water and can only cross streams by placing logs that they use for crossing over.
Mountain gorillas make up new nests every evening. The nests are made of plant materials and leaves and can only be shared by a mother and a baby. The males sleep in their own nests.
Female mountain gorillas groom their baby gorillas and after the baby gorillas groom themselves.
The male mountain gorillas are called silverbacks because of the silverback hair they develop on their backs as they age.
Trekking Mountain Gorillas
Trekking mountain gorillas require gorilla permits. These permits cost $600 in Uganda, $1500 in Rwanda and $400 in Congo. If you are planning to trek in the high season then it’s always advisable to buy a gorilla permit 3 or more months in advance.
The best time to trek mountain gorillas is during the dry season of June to September and December to February when the roads to the parks are easily accessible. If you are going to trek gorillas in the wet season then you will need to use a four-wheel drive car.
The climate at the Virunga conservation area can sometimes mean to be unpredictable. Sometimes rain can fall in the dry season. You will need to pack hiking boots, garden gloves, energy snacks, insect repellents, rairaincoatsarm clothes, drinking water and so much more.