Gorillas are among the intelligent primates the world host today. When it comes to primate safaris, gorillas should be a must see! They are intriguing animals and worthy seeing! They are capable of using tools like sticks, stones and pods among others. They use sticks to scoop termites from the ground, stones for defense and pods to collect drinking water from the streams. During a gorilla visit in either Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or the Virunga Region, you will come to learn about the life of the mountain gorillas and how they survive in the wild.
Gorillas Live in Families
Gorillas are known stay together in large groups known as ‘troops’. Each troop consists of members ranging from 5 to 40 depending on the size of the habitat. The largest gorilla group in history existed in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
Who Takes Care?
The females take good care of their young ones and they communicate with each other in a variety of ways. They not only warn their troop members of the approaching dangers, but also warn others to stay away from them.
Male gorillas are also important in grooming the young ones. On many occasions, you will find male gorillas interacting with the young and juveniles, teaching them the way things can be done e.g crossing rivers, building nests etc.
Maturity of Gorillas
A male silverback Gorilla, an adult of 13 years or more, is the head of each group. Only this Gorilla is allowed to mate with the female gorillas of the troop.
The other male members leave the troop once they mature and go on to form their own troops.
Females also leave the troop after maturity, in order to find a suitable silverback so that they can be a part of his troop.
Diet of Gorillas
The usual diet of a Gorilla consists of flowers, fruits, leaves, stems, bamboo, etc. The eastern lowland gorillas however, indulge in ants and other small insects, alongside vegetal matter.
On a gorilla trek through the impenetrable forest, you will look out for the nests that they build daily for their stay. Upon meeting the nests, it is evident and clear that you are close to encountering a gorilla family. The size of the nest also differs with the composition of members.
Gorillas do not sleep in one nest twice….. Gorillas sleep in nests, which they build on the ground or in trees, depending on various variables, such as the vegetation and the security situation. Every evening mountain gorillas construct a new nest, even if it is only a few meters from the nest they used the night before. Each animal builds its own nest; only infants sleep in the same nest as their mothers. About half an hour before it gets dark the gorillas settle in the nest. Occasionally, they also build nests for the midday rest.
To build a ground nest, the animals pull the branches of bushes and other plants into the centre, layer them and anchor them to each other. Other plants are bent in to form the nest rim. Tree nests are built mainly in forks of branches or similar structures. The nest has to be constructed in such a way that it can carry the weight of the gorilla. Females and young animals prefer to sleep in trees, whereas silverback males hardly ever do.