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Social Structure and Behavior Patterns of Mountain Gorillas

Mountain gorillas are an endangered species of primates living in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in Congo, and Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda.

They are humans’ close relatives, next to chimpanzees and bonobos.

Mountain gorillas are herbivores and live in groups dominated by silverbacks.

Silverbacks are called so because of the grey patch of hair they develop on their backs as they mature.

The main predators of mountain gorillas are humans and, sometimes, leopards.

Behaviors of Mountain Gorillas

Mountain gorillas live in a social structure of groups ranging from 5-30 individuals.

The groups comprise silverbacks, females, juveniles, infants, and subadults, dominated by one main silverback that commands all the group activities daily.

The relationship between females is relatively weak compared to the bond between females and males. The silverbacks do everything possible to protect their groups, even if it leads to death.

Mountain gorillas often rest during midday, which helps in group bonding. During this period, female mountain gorillas groom their young ones and associate with other young group members.

Mountain gorillas primarily feed on leaves, fruits, celery, bamboo shoots, roots, stems, fruits, and sometimes ants, termites, and insects. They don’t drink water because the food they eat provides sufficient moisture. Gorillas consume about 100 species of plants.

For unknown reasons, mountain gorillas are afraid of chameleons and caterpillars. Even baby mountain gorillas, who are fond of following every crawling thing, will give way to a chameleon or caterpillar.

A female mountain gorilla follows a male mountain gorilla for mating. The gestation period is about 8 and a half months, and once the baby is born, the female won’t mate again until four years have passed.

Female mountain gorillas breastfeed their babies up to the age of three or four years. Females have only 1-2 fertile days in a month, resulting in a very low birth rate. A baby mountain gorilla can weigh about 4 pounds at birth.

Mountain gorillas construct new nests daily from tree branches and leaves around them. They typically feed for the first 3-4 hours of the day before the midday rest and later resume foraging in the afternoon hours.

Mountain gorillas are very shy and gentle animals but can become very aggressive and violent when they feel insecure or disturbed.

They usually charge by beating their chests, tearing and throwing vegetation, and making loud hoots and grunts.

Mountain gorillas fear water and dislike rain or getting wet. They often use logs for crossing any water bodies to avoid getting wet.

When temperatures are low, mountain gorillas huddle together in a group and remain motionless for some time to warm themselves up.

Young mountain gorillas are very playful and sometimes engage in games of somersaults, wrestling, and more. Silverbacks are also seen playing with females on some occasions.

Book gorilla trekking safaris and tours to visit gorillas in Africa.

Gorilla FAQs & Information

  1. Why Can’t You Look or Make Eye Contact with a Gorilla?
  2. Why Silverback Gorillas Fight
  3. Importance of Mountain Gorillas
  4. What to do when a gorilla charges on you
  5. What is The Largest Species of Gorillas?
  6. What is a Group of Gorillas Called?
  7. What is the Mountain Gorillas Role in The Ecosystem?
  8. The Mountain Gorilla Defense Mechanism
  9. How to Provoke/Annoy a Gorilla
  10. How Gorillas Greet Each Other
  11. Do All Gorillas Become Silverbacks?
  12. Do Gorillas like Humans
  13. Do gorillas Eat of Kill Their Babies?
  14. Do Gorillas Eat Humans?
  15. Can you Tame a Gorilla
  16. Can you Own a Gorilla?
  17. Do Mountain Gorillas live in Families & Groups?
  18. How to Protect & Save Mountain Gorillas
  19. Why Gorillas Are So Strong
  20. How Many Humans Does it Take to Beat a Gorilla?
  21. How do you call a Baby Gorilla?
  22. How Do Gorillas Sleep?
  23. How Mountain Gorillas Communicate
  24. The Gorilla Life Cycle
  25. Do Gorillas drink water?
  26. Are Gorillas friendly & gentle to humans?
  27. Why do Apes, Gorillas beat their chest & sound hollow?
  28. Gorilla Threats: Why Mountain Gorillas were endangered?
  29. Why were Mountain Gorillas going extinct?
  30. What is a Silverback Gorilla?
  31. Gorilla Species: Different Kinds/Types of Gorilla & Breeds
  32. Mountain Gorilla Diet
  33. Mountain Gorilla Size, Average Height & Weight Measurements
  34. Natural Mountain Gorilla Predators
  35. Mountain Gorilla Population
  36. Lifespan of Mountain Gorillas
  37. Mountain Gorilla Natural Habitat
  38. Mountain Gorilla Conservation Efforts
  39. How to Survive a Gorilla Attack on Humans
  40. Are Gorillas Dangerous to the People
  41. Why are Gorillas Poached in Africa
  42. How Gorillas Adapt to Rain-forest Environment
  43. Interesting Facts about Mountain Gorillas in Africa
  44. Traits, Qualities & Characteristics of Mountain Gorillas
  45. How Strong is a Silverback Gorilla?
  46. Best Place to See Mountain Gorillas in Africa
  47. Uganda Gorilla Families
  48. Rwanda Gorilla Families
  49. Congo Gorilla Families

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