Do mountain gorillas live in families?

Mountain gorillas are social animals that live in groups of 5-50 individuals usually led by an adult male known as the Silverback with several other adult females and their off springs. Though mountain gorillas live in groups some solitary males roam the forest on their own and fight other groups to grab some females or join female groups whose Silverback has just died and there is no heir to dominate the group.

Do mountain gorillas live in families?

The biggest mountain gorilla family ever recorded was found in Rwanda consisting of 65 individuals, when a group leader dies the eldest son usually takes over the leadership. Females mountain gorillas always live their birth groups and join solitary males to form a group or join another group before producing, once a female produces in a group they normally stay there for the rest of their lives.

The dominating male Silverback always has access to all the group females and other males ate not supposed to have access to any female in the group or it will bring fights between the dominating Silverback and other males.

When a female gorilla produces after a gestation period of 8 and half months, they take good care of their babies that cling to their stomachs or backs and feed on breast milk up to the age of about 3-4 years old. The females also take the responsibility of weaning and grooming their babies, the babies sleep with the mothers in the same nests until a certain age when they can construct their nests next to their mothers.

The average range for a dominating Silverback of four to seven years in a family, the dominating Silverback is responsible for the protection of the group and will fight for its groups safety in case of any external attacks. If a female mountain gorilla dies and lives its baby, the Silverback will take care of the off spring and even sleep with it on their nest.

Mountain gorilla families can disperse when a Silverback dies without leaving an off spring in the group, the females might go and join other gorilla families or a lone Silverback might come and take over the group but if the group as young males the new Silverback will kill all the infants of the dead Silverback to avoid competition.

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