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Why Can’t You Look or Make Eye Contact with a Gorilla?

Mountain gorillas live in groups of 5 to 30 members, dominated by one silverback that dictates all the group activities, such as the time for feeding, where to travel, and when to build nests.

Humans share 98% of their DNA with mountain gorillas, making them their close relatives.

Mountain gorillas can only be found in Virunga National Park, Volcanoes National Park, Bwindi National Park, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

These parks are located in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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

They first send warning signs like beating their chests, grunting loudly, tearing, and throwing vegetation.

Why you can’t look a gorilla in the eye

One of the gorilla trekking rules and regulations is not to look a gorilla in the eye.

You can’t make eye contact with a gorilla because it can lead to an attack, as the gorilla may feel threatened.

You should look down modestly instead.

On the morning before embarking on a gorilla trekking safari, tourists will be briefed at the park headquarters about the guidelines for trekking mountain gorillas.

During the gorilla trekking, a park ranger guide will lead you through the process, and in case of any concerns regarding gorilla behavior, the visit will end early to avoid potential attacks.

Other gorilla rules and regulations

Before going gorilla trekking, tourists should ensure that they are in good health because mountain gorillas are vulnerable to human diseases, and any infections can easily lead to their death, as they are critically endangered.

When in the presence of mountain gorillas, you’re advised to look away while sneezing, and if illness is detected, you might be prevented from trekking with gorillas.

While with mountain gorillas, tourists are asked not to use cameras with flashlights to avoid irritating the gorillas.

If you’re using a phone with a flash camera, it’s better to turn it off.

Tourists trekking with mountain gorillas will be required to maintain a distance of at least 7 meters from the gorillas and avoid touching them because they are wild animals.

Visitors are also prohibited from smoking, eating, or drinking within a range of 200 meters from mountain gorillas to prevent dropped foodstuffs from becoming a source of infection.

When observing mountain gorillas, tourists should maintain silence or speak in low voices, as screaming and talking loudly can make mountain gorillas feel threatened.

Tourists trekking with mountain gorillas should stay in tight groups during observations and remain calm if the gorillas charge at them.

Gorilla trekking

Gorilla trekking can be done in any of the above national parks.

The cost of trekking differs in each country, with Uganda charging $700, Rwanda charging $1500, and Congo offering the cheapest permits at $400.

Gorilla trekking typically starts in the morning, and after finding gorillas, tourists are given an hour to be in the presence of their close human relatives.

What to carry for gorilla trekking

While planning a gorilla trekking safari, keep in mind that mountain gorillas live in higher elevations that often receive rain.

You will also need to hike to find gorillas, so you will need waterproof hiking boots, garden gloves, long-sleeved and warm clothes, raincoats, plenty of drinking water, and insect repellents, to name a few.

Gorilla FAQs & Information

  1. Why Silverback Gorillas Fight
  2. Importance of Mountain Gorillas
  3. What to do when a gorilla charges on you
  4. What is The Largest Species of Gorillas?
  5. What is a Group of Gorillas Called?
  6. What is the Mountain Gorillas Role in The Ecosystem?
  7. The Mountain Gorilla Defense Mechanism
  8. How to Provoke/Annoy a Gorilla
  9. How Gorillas Greet Each Other
  10. Do All Gorillas Become Silverbacks?
  11. Do Gorillas like Humans
  12. Do gorillas Eat of Kill Their Babies?
  13. Do Gorillas Eat Humans?
  14. Can you Tame a Gorilla
  15. Can you Own a Gorilla?
  16. Do Mountain Gorillas live in Families & Groups?
  17. How to Protect & Save Mountain Gorillas
  18. Why Gorillas Are So Strong
  19. How Many Humans Does it Take to Beat a Gorilla?
  20. How do you call a Baby Gorilla?
  21. How Do Gorillas Sleep?
  22. How Mountain Gorillas Communicate
  23. The Gorilla Life Cycle
  24. Do Gorillas drink water?
  25. Are Gorillas friendly & gentle to humans?
  26. Why do Apes, Gorillas beat their chest & sound hollow?
  27. Gorilla Threats: Why Mountain Gorillas were endangered?
  28. Why were Mountain Gorillas going extinct?
  29. What is a Silverback Gorilla?
  30. Gorilla Species: Different Kinds/Types of Gorilla & Breeds
  31. Mountain Gorilla Diet
  32. Mountain Gorilla Size, Average Height & Weight Measurements
  33. Natural Mountain Gorilla Predators
  34. Mountain Gorilla Population
  35. Lifespan of Mountain Gorillas
  36. Mountain Gorilla Natural Habitat
  37. Mountain Gorilla Conservation Efforts
  38. Mountain Gorilla Behavior
  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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