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.
Behaviours of Mountain Gorillas
Mountain gorillas live in a social structure of groups from 5-30 individuals, the group’s compromise of silverbacks, females, juveniles, infants and subadults dominated by on the main silverback that commands all the group activities daily. The relationship between the females is relatively weak compared to females and males, the Silverbacks do everything possible to protect their groups even if it leads to death.
Mountain gorillas often rest during midday and this helps them in group bonding, during this period the female mountain gorillas groom their young ones as well as associate with other young group members.
Mountain gorillas entirely feed on leaves, fruits, celery, bamboo shoot, roots, stems, fruits and sometimes ants, termites and insects, they don’t drink water because the food they eat is sufficient with moisture. Gorillas are about 100 species of plants.
For unknown reasons mountain gorillas are afraid of chameleons and caterpillars, 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 half months and once the baby is born the female won’t mate again until after four years have passed.
Female mountain gorillas breastfeed their babies up to the age of three or four years, the females have only 1-2 fertile days in a month and this makes their birth rate very low. A baby mountain gorilla can weigh about 4pounds at birth.
Mountain gorillas construct new nests daily from the tree branches and leaves around them; they normally 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 normally charge by beating their chests, tearing and throwing vegetation and making loud hoots and grunts.
Mountain gorillas fear water and hate rain or getting wet, they usually use logs for crossing any water bodies to avoid getting wet. When temperatures are low, mountain gorillas are fond of huddling together in a group and remain motionless for sometime in order to warm themselves up. Young mountain gorillas are very playful and sometimes participate in games of somersaults, wrestling and so much more, the Silverbacks are also seen playing with females on some occasions.