For those who have heard of gorilla trekking in Africa they may wonder, What are mountain gorillas? Mountain gorillas are one of the four sub species of the gorilla that became popular after the American primatologist Dian Fossey did research among the mountain gorillas of the Virunga volcanoes. The mountain gorillas are giant apes worth knowing about as their population is remaining small and listed as endangered. Here is everything you need to know about m mountain gorillas from their habitat, structure to diet and character.
With a remaining population of 1063 mountain gorillas, they are only found in Africa. Mountain gorillas can only be seen in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. these are their natural habitats and the only way of seeing the mountain gorillas in these countries is by undertaking a Uganda gorilla tracking safaris, gorilla trekking tour Rwanda or Congo gorilla trekking safaris.
Mountain Gorillas have a stocky build with a broad chest, long muscular arms and wide feet and hands. Mountain Gorilla arms are longer than their legs and they move by what is known as knuckle walking. Silverback gorillas are around six feet tall, weigh about 350 pounds.
Mountain gorillas are vegetarian animals that eat vegetables. These mainly include stems, leaves, bamboo shoot, pith, roots, moth, fruits and grubs. Of their diet, fruits make 25%. Aside from vegetation, at times mountain gorillas supplement their diet with termites that they get by breaking termite nests to eat larva, ants and insects. With consumption of vegetables, the range of plants or vegetation eaten by gorillas adds up to 250 plant species.
Of these plant species, the gorillas are fond of eating high sugar foods and rather low fiber foods that contain tannins with protein and sugar. In rare occasions mountain gorillas eat ash and soil and this is to regulate their digestive system. The Mountain gorilla diet according to Sea World is by percentage comprised of 86% leaves, 7% roots, 3% flowers, 2% fruit as well as 2% snails, grubs and ants.
If you are wondering whether gorillas are dangerous, the answer is NO. Africa is popular for lots of fearsome predators including lions, hyenas and many more but luckily mountain gorillas are not part of them. Mountain gorillas are habituated before they are opened to tourists for trekking.
During habituation, gorillas are taken through a long process where they get familiar with the presence of humans as rangers spend time with the gorillas for about 2 years until the gorillas get unbothered with the presence of people. After the rangers realize that the gorillas are familiar with humans, other people including researchers and guide are brought to meet the gorillas and if the gorillas pass this test then they are opened up to tourists for trekking.
Mountain Gorillas primarily live on the ground and spend 5-20% of the day in trees. However, gorillas do like to climb trees in order to play or to harvest fruit. Almost always, gorillas climb quadrupedally and only very rarely do they brachiate or jump from branch to branch. The young gorillas spend more time in trees than adults and like to play there.
Silverback Mountain gorillas do not often move above the ground because of their heavy weight.
These mountain gorilla facts give a highlight what are mountain gorillas and give a highlight of the kind of experience gotten when you go trekking. See mountain gorillas with one of our well planned gorilla tours planned on Uganda safaris or Rwanda tours.