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Western Gorilla

Western Lowland Gorilla
Western Lowland Gorilla
Photographer: Kabir Bakie

Western Lowland Gorilla
Western Lowland Gorilla

Western Gorilla Range Map (Africa)
Western Gorilla Range Map (Africa)

Western Lowland Gorilla at Melbourne Zoo
Western Lowland Gorilla at Melbourne Zoo
Photographer: John Chapman of www.chappo1.com
Latin Name Gorilla gorilla
Conservation Status Critically Endangered
Location Central Africa
Colour Black/Grey
Height 1.3 - 1.9 m (4.25 - 6.25 ft)
Tail None
Weight 68 - 200 Kg (150 - 430 lbs)
Life Expectancy 35 - 40 Yrs

Main Characteristics

Gorillas are the largest primate. Their body length is between 1.3 and 1.9 m (4.25 - 6.25 ft), they have no tail and they weigh between 68 and 200 Kgs (150 - 430 lbs).

They have black hair on their bodies which has an auburn tinge at the crown. The male Silverbacks have grey hair on their back and rump, which is where their name originated.

They have a broad chest, short legs, muscular arms with large hands and short digits. The head is large and they have large canine teeth.

They differ from the Eastern Gorilla because the Western Gorilla has an overhanging tip on its nose.

They are active during the day and they move around by walking on all 4 limbs. Male Gorillas are larger than females and they have a more pronounced ridge above their eyes.

Habitat

Western Gorillas are found in tropical rain forests of West Central Africa.

They live in groups that consist of both males and females which is led by a dominant male known as a Silverback. The members of the group will either be his mates or his off spring.

The range of the group will be approximately 10 Kms (6 miles) and this may overlap with ranges of neighbouring groups. The Silverback will decide when the group eats and when they need to move to another location.

Diet

Western Gorillas are omnivores and their diet consists of vegetation, roots, flowers, fruit, seeds, herbs and insects.

Breeding

After a gestation period of 251 - 289 days 1 infant is usually born, twins are rare. The young Gorilla will weigh approximately 2 Kgs (4.4 lbs) and it will be helpless and have a sparse covering of hair. The mother will hold it close to her until it develops the strength to cling to her its self, this will happen after about 2 months and at 3 years old the young Gorilla will be weaned.

Females reach sexual maturity between the ages of 7 and 8 and males between the ages of 8 and 9. Gorillas have no distinct breeding season and females will usually give birth to her first infant between the ages of 10 and 11 years old. After this 4 years will go by before she produces any more young.

When male Gorillas reach maturity they will leave the group into which they were born to start their own group.

Predators

The primary predators of Western Gorillas are leopards and humans.

Subspecies

There are 2 subspecies of Western Gorilla:

Western Lowland Gorilla
(Gorilla gorilla gorilla)

Cross River Gorilla
(Gorilla gorilla diehli)

Interesting Facts

Like humans, Gorillas have individual finger prints.

Similar Animals

Eastern Gorilla

 


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