Facts about Mountain Gorilla Diet

Mountain gorillas’ proximity to humans and endangered situation make one wonder what they consume to be so powerful. Another reason people wonder what do mountain gorillas eat is since they do not thrive in zoo confinement.

Mountain Gorillas can be found in the forest of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National. As the world’s biggest primate, they require a lot of food to exist, and their diet consists primarily of plant life. Mountain gorillas are known to consume around 142 plant species, with leaves, shoots, and stems accounting for over 86% of their diet.

Edible roots account for 7% of their diet, flowers for 3%, and fruits for 2%. Because mountain gorillas live at such high altitudes, they can ingest far less fruit than lowland gorillas, whose diet is mostly made of fruit. Gorillas are classified into two species, each of which has two subspecies. Western gorillas are classified into two subspecies: Cross River gorillas and Western Lowland gorillas. The eastern gorilla is another gorilla species with two subspecies: mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas.

What do Mountain Gorillas Eat?

Gorillas are herbivores who eat mostly green plants such as stems, flowers, buds, barks, seeds, bamboo shoots, fruits, grasses, vines, herbs, roots, leaves, and young branches. Gorillas also ingest ash and dirt to regulate their digestive system, neutralize harmful compounds contained in some of the plants they eat, and supplement their diet with nutrients not found in the plants they eat.

In order to obtain proteins, they also graze on insects such as ants, snails, caterpillars, and termites, among others. Mountain gorillas are also reported to eat ants, snails, and grubs on occasion, accounting for 2% of their diet. Mountain gorillas are scared of water and hence do not drink it individually. Most of the water that mountain gorillas need is basically obtained from the plants and shoots they consume on a daily basis. In this way, they actually get to have a balanced diet.

Mountain gorillas differ from lowland gorillas in size and eating habits in that mountain gorillas are slightly smaller than lowland gorillas. They primarily feed on vegetation or green plants because they live in rain forests at a high altitude or elevation that does not support a lot of fruit growth, whereas lowland gorillas are slightly larger in size and their diet is mostly composed of fruits.

During the dry seasons, when the fruits tend to fall down quickly, they adjust by climbing up in the trees to gather the fruits, and they are sometimes compelled to consume a lot of seeds and tree barks. Mountain gorillas in Africa’s rainforests consume over 142 plant species, with leaves, stems, and bamboo shoots accounting for approximately 86% of their diet, with edible roots accounting for 7%, flowers accounting for 3%, fruits accounting for 2%, and ants, grubs, and snails accounting for 2%.

Facts about Mountain Gorilla Diet

Gorillas, like humans, have a set of 32 teeth that they use to chew and digest the plants they eat, with the exception of adult gorillas, who acquire long pointed canines when they reach maturity and use them to fight other male gorillas. An adult male gorilla consumes around 30 kilograms of vegetation per day, whereas a female gorilla consumes approximately 18 kilograms of vegetation per day. Mountain gorillas seldom drink water since the foliage they eat is very delicate, delicious, and juicy, storing and providing half of the water required for survival. They also acquire water from the morning mist.

Mountain gorillas are selective when feeding on plants in that they do not consume all of the vegetation in one area, but rather consume the roots of one plant, eat the stems of another, eat the leaves of another, and so on, allowing re-growth of the vegetation that they were feeding on because they keep rotating from one place to another. Gorillas can move from 3 to 6 kilometres per day looking for food to eat and can also move from one location to another. 

Gorillas communicate using around 25 various noises, including roars, cries, grunts, screams, growls, hooting, and the unmistakable chest beating. When gorillas desire to obtain food, convey pain, provide assistance to one another, and so on, they communicate. Gorillas are herbivores who rely entirely on their environments for food, fruits, and vegetation, as well as shelter. These are, nonetheless, necessary for their existence.

Female gorillas begin giving birth between 10 and 12 years of age, have a gestation period of 8.5 months, and give birth to one baby every 2 to 3 years, giving birth to 4 to 6 offspring throughout their lifetime, making population growth difficult and thus making it difficult for the gorilla population to grow.

After birth, the baby gorillas can weigh 3 to 4 kilograms and feed on breast milk for five months, with moms feeding them once every hour until they are four years old. Adult male gorillas weigh between 136 and 196 kilograms and stand 5 to 9 feet tall, while females weigh between 68 and 113 kilograms and are 5 feet tall.

How do Mountain Gorillas in collect their food?

Mountain gorillas are the world’s largest and most powerful primates. They utilize their immense power to break apart plants so they may consume the section of the plant they want. Gorillas play a vital role in their ecological niche because they are extremely selective and do not consume all of the plants in the region where they graze. They allow for plant renewal and are continually rotating from one location to another. As a result of their eating habits, they may be replenished quickly.

Mountain gorillas are discriminating foragers, eating different portions of plants. For example, they may only devour the root of one plant, the stem of another, the leaves and fruit of another, and so on.

Facts about Mountain Gorilla Diet

How much food can Mountain Gorillas eat?

An adult mountain gorilla consumes around 27 kilograms of food each day. This is due to their huge bodies, which require more food to provide more energy. Gorillas spend the most of their time seeking for food or eating. They leave their previous night’s sleeping nests early in the morning and go about the forest, looking for a suitable area to feed and rest. The silverback gorilla is in charge of directing the group/family to a decent location with adequate food for everyone.

Mountain gorillas eat twice a day, in the morning and at night. The adult gorillas will relax between meals, while the babies will play with each other. Gorillas do not overfeed in one location before moving on. They gather the leaves, shoots, stems, buds, and roots for food in a highly conservative manner that does not injure the vegetation they feed on.

A stunning illustration of this is how a gorilla will not eat the roots of the same plant that it just ate the leaves or buds of, but will instead seek for the roots of another similar species. Each family of mountain gorillas has its own ‘zone,’ and accessing another group’s region is uncommon and can result in battles as the silverback defends his own family.

Do Mountain Gorillas have eating habits?

Since gorillas practice selective feeding, which results in excellent eating habits, Mountain gorillas do not overfeed and deplete one area of the forest while they are feeding. The plants may soon develop anew because of the balanced feeding. Mountain gorillas will only eat one portion of plants whose leaves, shoots, and stems they consume before moving on to another plant to eat a different part. This is how mountain gorillas eat, and it’s also how they shrewdly conserve their own food supplies.

Do Mountain Gorillas eat meat or fish?

Gorillas do not eat meat or fish, despite the fact that science is unanimous that they are omnivores since they occasionally consume insects like termites. Their powerful bite is used for both chewing on vegetables and sparring with other animals to defend themselves.

Facts about Mountain Gorilla Diet

Do Mountain Gorillas eat Bananas in the wild?

Although they are capable of doing so, mountain gorillas and other gorilla species do not consume bananas in the wild. Basically, it’s because they can’t find bananas in the wild. The dense tree cover in the forest where gorillas reside prevents the growth of bananas. As a result, the majority of gorillas in the wild spend their whole lives without ever seeing or eating a banana.

When is the best time to see Mountain Gorillas in the wild?

Gorillas can be visited all year; however, the best time is during the dry season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January, and February when there is less rainfall, drier grounds for trekking, and easy sighting of the gorillas due to short vegetation in the forests, as opposed to the wet season in the months of March to May and October to November when there is rainfall, difficult trekking and viewing of the gorillas, and slippery and muddy grounds.


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