It’s believed that, the gorillas share a total DNA of 98% with humans and they are the next to humans after the chimpanzee, yet they live in the wild in the thick forests, the common question is that what do gorillas eat/ feed on?
Mountain gorillas are the endangered animal species living in the dense tropical forest of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, Mgahinga national park in south western Uganda, volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in the democratic republic of Congo. These three African countries, are situated in east Africa and are famously known to be harboring the mountain gorillas.
The mountain gorillas have the same DNA like that of humans and they are known to be the strongest and largest primate species on earth, the mountain gorillas, are divided in to two gorilla species that is the east low land gorillas and the western low land gorillas from the two categories, , they are also subdivided in to four categories that is the mountain gorillas, western low land gorillas, eastern low land gorillas and cross river gorillas. The mountain gorillas, are slightly different from the rest of the gorillas because of their body shape, and the habitat they live in. the gorillas are named basing on their different habitats and the body shape.
The endangered gorillas live in the thick forest of Bwindi impenetrable forest, volcanoes national park, Mgahinga national park, and Virunga national park these countries are situated in Africa. Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, harbours the largest number of gorillas, the park has got over half of the world remaining population of the mountain gorillas and its one of the highly visited destination in Uganda for gorilla trekking experience, Bwindi is sub divided in to four sectors including Buhoma, Nkuringo. Rushaga, Ruhija these sectors harbour habituated gorilla families that are open to tourists for gorilla trekking, the park has got 18 habituated gorilla families one of which is trekked at Mgahinga gorilla national park. volcanoes national park, is also home to the endangered mountain gorilla species, the park has got 14 habituated gorilla families opened to trekkers and the rest are for research purposes. Virunga is situated in the Democratic Republic of Congo with 8 habituated gorilla families ready for gorilla trekking, these gorilla families are being trekked on a daily basis. Therefore, back to the question, what do gorillas eat? Gorillas feeding habits, depends on their natural habitat, where they live and the season or time of the year.
The mountain gorillas are herbivores and mainly feed on vegetation as their daily meal, they also feed on other plants like stems. Flowers, buds, barks. Seeds, bamboo, shoots, fruits, vines, herbs, roots, leaves, shrubs, and young branches from trees. They also feed on insects like ants, snails, caterpillars, termites among others but in small quantity since they are full of proteins. They also eat ash, soil to help regulate their digestive system, and to neutralize the poisonous plants that they may have consumed, also the ash adds minerals to their system and all their lively hood is in the forest, shelter, food and they depend entirely in the forest until when they die.
The mountain gorillas live and move together in groups of 2 t0 40 members with the Silverback has the head of the family. The Silverback holds the position of leadership in the family by looking after the family, defending the family in case of any harm, settling dispute, deciding the feeding area for the family, time of feeding and making nests, among other things the head of the family should for his family. The Silver back gorilla takes leadership until when he is old or dies, that when another silver back can take over the leadership of the family.
There is slight difference between mountain gorillas the low land gorillas, the mountain gorillas are smaller in size compared to the low land gorillas. They mainly live in the tropical forest and feed on vegetation and plants which does not support fruit growth due to the high altitude which does not support the growth of fruits compared the low land climate. The lowland gorillas are bigger in size and feed on mostly fruits, seeds and tree backs mostly during the dry season when there is scarcity of vegetation.
Mountain gorillas when feeding, do not complete the whole vegetation in an area but they feed selectively for example, they can consume stems from one plant, move to the next and eat the leaves, roots from another, and so on this is done to allow the vegetation to re-grow since they will need food also for the next day. The gorillas move from one place to another looking for food every day.
the life span of a gorilla is 35 years and beyond, the female gorillas have slow rate of giving birth, they give birth to 4-6 off springs throughout their life. They start giving birth at the age of 10-12 years and their gestation period takes about 8.5 month in order to deliver. These slow rate of giving birth, makes it hard for the population to raise faster. A new born gorilla weighs up to 3-4 kgs and feed on only breast milk up to the age of five month. The mothers feed them once in one hour, the feeding continues up to the age of 4 years. The female gorillas weigh 113kg and are five feet tall while the male gorilla weighs 136 kg to 196kg and measure up to 5 to 9 feet tall making the male gorilla huge, stronger and bigger than the female gorillas.
Best time to visit gorillas
Mountain gorillas in any the three east African countries that is Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, Mgahinga national park in Uganda, volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in democratic republic of Congo. All these parks are open for tourist visiting for gorilla trekking any time of the year, gorilla trekking is an activity done in all national parks throughout the year. However, it’s so, but the most appropriate to visit is during the dry seasons when there is no rainfall and the ground Is dry and less slippery since gorilla trekking involves hiking steep slopes in the forest, it requires the ground to be dry. The dry season is from the month of February, June, July, August, September, December January these months have little or rainfall at all, the ground is dry and the vegetation is dry compared to the wet season when the ground is muddy and slippery causing difficulty in trekking through the forest.
Gorillas communicate with each other in the forest using different sounds like roars, shouts, screams, growls, hooting, the chest-thumping among others. gorillas communicate with each other when they want to find food, mating, offering support to each other and showing distress when they are angry. Gorillas feed on vegetation, plats for their entire life in the wild.