How long do Infant Mountain gorillas live with their parents?
On a gorilla trekking safari, it is very common to see an infant or baby mountain gorillas hanging around their parents either the female or male. However, many wonder how long infant mountain gorillas live with their parents after birth.
Just like human babies, baby gorillas are adorable, crawl before learning to walk, and love breast milk. They, however, develop faster than human babies and crawl at about two months and walk (bipedally) before they are nine months old.
Infant mountain gorillas ride on their mothers’ backs from the age of four months through the first two or three years of their lives. By four months they can properly grasp their mothers’ back fur, ride on their backs and can even eat and sleep on the back while seemingly having a blast while doing this.
The way they interact with their parents reminds the viewers of how young humans rely on their parents for support in their childhood. Unlike their powerful parents or adult mountain gorillas, newborn gorillas are tiny weighing four pounds and only able to cling on their mothers’ fur.
Infant mountain gorillas are nursed by their mothers for about 2.5 years and live with them till about 4 years. After they are weaned, the baby gorillas leave their mothers’ sleeping nest and build their own.
Much of the infant gorilla life from three to six years is spent in play, climbing trees, chasing one another, and swinging from branches. The male silverback gorillas also contribute to raising the infants and can be seen taking care of them as the young ones enjoy learning skills like chest-beating from them.
Reproduction in mountain gorillas
Just like with any other species, reproduction in gorillas is a key factor to their totals and the rate at which they reproduce can lead to either an increase or decline. Reproduction alone or giving birth is a key factor, however, not the only factor since the gorillas have to survive in conditions with no or few threats to ensure that they live to reach their estimated lifespan which is 40 years.
Mountain gorilla reproduction behavior is similar to that of other hominids. Research shows that all 4 subspecies of gorillas share many similarities with each other.
Though slightly affected by the gorilla subspecies, the estrous cycle is 28/30-33 days. This happens after the first time a female gorilla becomes sexually. This is normally from the age of 10 – 12 years. Male gorillas become sexually active at a later age which is between 11-13 years of age.
Though generally sexually active by 10 years, a female gorilla can have her first ovulatory cycle even at the age of the sixth year. However, when this happens, they still cannot start breeding until they are ten years or even older.
After a female gorilla’s first ovulatory cycle, the gorilla has to wait for at least a period of two years to breed or give birth to an infant. This means if the first ovulatory cycle is at 10 then the female gorilla can breed at 12 years of age.
Female gorillas give birth to one infant after a pregnancy of nearly nine months. Gorilla mothers wait three to four years between births because this is how long their babies spend with them. This is why they have only about three babies in their lifetime.
Baby mountain gorillas are amazing to watch and with the fact that they hang around their mothers for about 4 years, seeing an infant and adult interaction is very common. Mountain gorillas live in families ad most of these families have infants among them.
To witness this almost human-like mother-baby interaction among the mountain gorillas, then book a gorilla safari to Africa. These tours can be Uganda gorilla safari tours, Rwanda gorilla tours, and Congo gorilla trekking safaris. All of these gorilla trekking trips can be tailored as short or long itineraries.
Mountain gorillas only survive in three African countries which are Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo. In these countries, gorilla trekking can be customized with other activities like wildlife viewing on Uganda wildlife safaris, Rwanda wildlife tours, or Congo tours.
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