Western Lowland Gorilla

Scientific Name

Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla

Description

Despite being the smallest subspecies of Gorilla, the Western Lowland Gorilla is still exceptionally large in size and is extremely strong. It has strong hands and feet, broad shoulders, and a muscular neck. Its entire body is covered by short and thin gray-black or brown-black hair. Its entire face is however bare and has a thick bridge right above its eyes. An adult male Western Lowland Gorilla has a silver fur on its back- they are commonly referred to as Silverbacks. Although the gorilla typically walks on all fours, it can sometimes walk on two legs especially on short distances. When using two legs, the lowland gorilla walks on the knuckles of its front legs.

Western Lowland gorilla looking up

Food

Although the Western Lowland Gorillas are omnivorous, their diet mainly consists of plants. They eat leaves, fruits, and foliage. On various occasions, the gorillas also eat ants and termites.

Habitat

The Western Lowland Gorilla is found in the tropical rainforests of Western Africa.

Predators

The Western Lowland Gorilla is commonly hunted by leopards and humans. These are its main predators.

Social Structure

Baby and Mother Western Lowland Gorilla

This gorilla subspecies typically lives in structured family groups. A single group usually consists of several unrelated female gorillas, one adult silverback gorilla, and young gorillas who have not reached sexual maturity. The male silverback is usually in control of the entire group, even creating the day schedule. Morning hours are spent looking for food and eating. During midday, the gorillas take a break before eating food again right before nightfall. The young gorillas often play during the midday break as the adults take a nap.

Because of their social nature, these gorillas basically need each other to survive in the jungle. However, the male and its female mates tend to form the strongest bonds in the family group.

The Western Lowland Gorillas are non-aggressive, often quiet and calm and thus, they rarely get into conflicts. However, the male gorilla only becomes aggressive when threatened.

Birth & Offspring

The gestation period for the western lowland gorilla is 9 months, just like in humans. And just like humans, the young gorillas are born weak and helpless and thus fully depend on their mothers. The mother carries the young ones until they reach 3 months, after which they can ride on their mother’s back. The male gorilla is often left looking after the baby while the mother goes out in search of food.

Baby Western Gorilla climbing on a branch
Baby Western Lowland Gorilla

Senses

The Western Low Gorillas are extremely intelligent and have even been taught the sign language.

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