The gorilla is the member of the great ape family. Gorillas may be aggressive when attacked or provoked, but they are naturally gentle.
|Silverback male Gorilla gorilla|
|Distribution of gorillas|
A gorilla's lifespan is between 35 and 40 years, although zoo gorillas may live for 50 years or more because they have more food.
Gorillas are the largest apes in the world. They can become heavy, and are strong. A male gorilla can weigh up to 225 kilograms and stand 1.8 meters in height. Gorillas live in family groups called troops. They have a broad chest, wide shoulders, short legs, and long, powerful, strong arms. They have black skin and fur. Male gorillas' fur becomes silver/grey on their backs as they become older. Because of that older males are called silverbacks.
Gorillas live in the rainforests in central Africa. They mostly live on the ground, but they can also climb. When on the ground, they walk on their feet and finger knuckles. Troops of gorillas wander slowly through the forests of Central Africa. For about half of their day they search for leaves, vines, and bamboo shoots to eat. Sometimes they also eat ants or termites. For the rest of the day, they lay in the sun and play with their children. If another gorilla threatens them, the troop's leader, the silverback, protects them by rearing up and beating his chest. Although mostly vegetarian, they have long canine teeth or fangs that the adult males sometimes use to fight each other for the troop leadership.
Gorillas sleep in nests that they build on the ground. At the end of each day, each adult gorilla spends a few minutes putting together a soft, flat bed made of leaves, branches, and moss. The young gorillas sleep with their mothers.
The gestation period (when a baby grows inside the mother) of a gorilla lasts between eight and ten months. Gorillas almost always produce one offspring - twins are rare. Gorilla babies begin to hang onto their mothers when they are only a few hours old and will continue to do so for the next three years. Gorillas live up to 50 years in the wild and up to 54 years in captivity.
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- Wilson, J. (16 December 2011). "Colo, Queen of the Columbus Zoo, celebrates year 55". Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
- Blue Planet Level 5, Dinorah Pous, p71–72.