Gorillas Facts, Ways for Life

Gorillas are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Sub-Saharan Africa. Gorilla species are sub-divided into two species: the eastern gorillas and the western gorillas which are critically endangered and either four or five subspecies.

They are the largest living primates on planet earth. Gorillas shares up to 95–99% with humans and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the chimpanzees and bonobos.

Gorillas dominate the tropical or subtropical forests in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although their range covers a small percentage of Africa, gorillas cover a wide range of elevations. The mountain gorilla inhabits the Albertine Rift montane cloud forests of the Virunga Volcanoes, ranging in altitude from 2,200–4,300 metres (7,200–14,100 ft). Lowland gorillas live in dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level, with western lowland gorillas living in Central West African countries and eastern lowland gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near its border with Rwanda.


Gorillas depend on natural habitat for survival – they feed on green plant parts (mountain Gorillas), while lowland gorillas feed on fruits.

The food range of the western gorillas is very broad: they eat about 200 plant species. They particularly like plants belonging to the ginger and arrowroot families. In contrast, the mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes eat only 38 different plant species, mainly Galium, thistles, celery and nettles.

An adult Grauer's gorilla male is estimated to eat 30 kg of plants every day, an adult female about 18 kg. To be able to process these masses of plant material, gorillas have very strong chewing muscles. Their teeth are much like human teeth, except for the very long, pointed canines of adult gorilla males. The males do not use those for feeding but for fighting against competing males. Gorillas also eat different insect species in different regions; there may even be traditions in prey choice.


Gorillas spend the nights in the nests that they build every evening. Whether these nests are on the ground or in trees depends entirely on certain circumstances. Females and young male gorillas seem to prefer the trees, while the huge silverbacks hardly ever sleep in the trees.

It should be noted that, Gorillas sleep in every nest once that is why they build nests every day.

If the gorilla discovers an area on the ground that seems safe, they will pull the branches from bushes and plants into a tight area and hook them together to anchor the nest. Other smaller plants are usually attached and bent inwards to make rim for the nest just like tents.

The new nests are built every day, few feet from the old ones. In fact researchers who study gorillas and their behavior determine the population of gorillas by counting the nests. If you do Gorilla habituation in Uganda, you can meet Gorillas before waking up and leave their colonies in the evening as they leave for work.