What Do Gorillas Eat?
You wouldn’t want to share a gorilla’s dinner. Unless, of course, you like the taste of baby insects called grubs. Gorillas also eat leaves, bark, shoots, stems, roots, flowers, and fruit. Some gorillas also eat adult insects, such as termites.
The choice of foods varies, depending on the gorillas’ habitat. Mountain gorillas eat bamboo and herbs that they find near the ground, and lowland gorillas climb to find ripe fruit.
Most of the regular plant life in a gorilla’s habitat is a poor source of nutrients and calories, which the animal needs to grow and stay healthy. For this reason, a gorilla will even eat soil if it contains needed minerals.Gorillas eat leaves, tree bark, roots, flowers, fruit, and grubs.
Gorillas travel through the forest in groups called troops. Each troop can have between 2 and 34 members. Troops may have one or more males, two or more females, and several young gorillas.
An adult male always leads the troop. He makes all the decisions, such as when to get up in the morning, where to go, and when to rest. This male also protects the troop against danger. The fur on the back of this adult male is silver. He is called a silverback.
The other males in a troop sometimes leave and wander alone. A new or enlarged troop forms when one or more females leave the troop of their birth to join another troop or a lone male.
Each troop wanders around in its own home range, which is from 2 to 15 square miles (5 to 39 square kilometers) in area. Several troops may live in the same area of a forest, but they usually avoid one another.
When they are born, infant gorillas are at about the same level of physical development as human newborns. They are weak and uncoordinated, and their senses are not sharp. However, gorillas develop much more rapidly than humans do. Baby gorillas can eat solid food, sit up, and crawl sooner than human infants can. By 5 months of age, gorillas can walk.
Very small infant gorillas are carried near their mother’s chest. As it grows and becomes heavier, a baby spends more time riding “piggyback” on the adult’s back.
Gorilla births do not occur very frequently in any family group. So when an infant is born, both male and female adult gorillas of all ages are very interested in the new arrival. When the group is resting, the young continue to play and may climb over sleeping adults.
Gorillas belong to the family Pongidae. The western lowland gorilla is Gorilla gorilla gorilla; eastern, G. g. graueri; mountain, G. g. beringei.