Quick Facts

Quick Facts

  • Gorillas possess 98% of the same nuclear DNA as humans
  • There’s a greater degree of difference between gorilla vs chimp DNA in contrast to gorilla vs human DNA
  • Gorillas are the biggest primate (note humans are primates)
  • Gorillas, chimpanzees and humans are classified under the same family–Hominidae
  • Gorillas and chimps used to be classified under the family Pongidae–Now only the orangutan remains in the Pongidae family
  • There’re two species of gorilla: Western Gorilla and Eastern Gorilla
  • The largest subspecies of gorilla is the Grauer’s gorilla (eastern lowland gorilla)
  • A group of gorillas is called a troop
  • A silverback gorilla is so-called because of the greyish/silver patch he gains on his back when he attains maturity
  • Eastern gorillas tend to have blacker hair than their Western counterparts who tend to be browner
  • Gorillas have hair not fur
  • Mountain gorillas have longer hair, larger jaws and teeth, smaller noses and shorter arms than other gorillas
  • Gorilla arms are longer than their legs and in the western gorilla the male’s arm span extends 7-9 feet–longer than the gorilla is tall
  • Not a single one of the gorillas in zoos around the world is a mountain gorilla–they are all lowland gorillas
  • Mountain gorillas tend to die in captivity
  • Most gorillas seen on safari are habituated mountain gorillas (bwindi subspecies too)
  • Gorillas are mainly folivorous though they may supplement their diet with insects and small animals
  • Gorillas live to approx. 35-40yrs in the wild and about 50 years in captivity
  • Male gorilla heights average between 5.6 -6.0 feet (1.7 – 1.8 meters)
  • Male gorillas weigh between 300 – 500 lbs (136 -227 kgs)
  • Female gorillas are significantly smaller. Height: usually no more than 5ft (1.5 meters) Weight 150-200 lbs (68-91kgs)
  • Gorillas are naturally found only in Africa
  • Western gorillas are found in the West-Central African region
  • Eastern gorillas live in the East-Central African region
  • An adult male eats up to 40 pounds of food a day
  • Dian Fossey was the foremost person responsible for alerting the public at large to the plight of the mountain gorilla
  • Gorillas like other primates are now known to use tools–even wild gorillas have been observed using tools
  • December 22, 1956 was the date of the first registered gorilla birth in captivity at Columbus Zoo in Ohio
  • Until the late 1970s, thousands of gorillas were slaughtered in order to capture young gorillas destined for zoos
  • By the end of 1991, 53% of all gorillas in zoos were born in captivity
  • To date more than 760 gorillas reside in over 140 zoos