Facts About Gorillas

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    Gorilla Facts 1. 98% of gorillas DNA is identical to humans 2. Gorillas are the largest primates on the planet  —  males can weigh between 350 and 450 lbs and females are about half that size. 3. Gorillas laugh when they are tickled and cry when they are sad or hurt 4. Gorillas rarely drink water, they obtain all the moisture they need from the plants they eat 5. Male gorillas can eat up to 50 lbs. of food per day 6. Gorillas use vines, branches and leaves to form new beds every night 7. A newborn gorilla weighs approximately 4 1/2 pounds 8. Gorillas generally live in small groups of about 2 to 20 animals but the largest group ever observed contained 65 individuals! Gorillas often stay with the same group for many years 9. A gorilla will try to scare off intruders by standing up and pounding its chest  —  a  behavior that is appropriately called a chest beat. Chestbeats can also be made for other reasons from a gorilla feeling good on a sunny day, to a gorilla showing off, to a gorilla warning someone that he’s there and watching.  10. Mountain gorillas were not discovered by Europeans until the 1902. 11. Gorillas have been listed with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1975. 12. There are two species and four subspecies of gorillas. The eastern gorilla species  lives in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, contains the mountain and Grauer’s subspecies.  The western gorilla, which lives in countries like Gabon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, contains the western lowland and Cross River subspecies. Only western lowland gorillas are found in zoos. 13. Gorillas live in the rainforests of Africa that are located along the equator. 14. Mountain gorillas can be found at elevations of up to 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) in the mountains of central East Africa. 15. There are fewer than 900 mountain gorillas in the wild today. (As of 2013) 16. A gorilla can walk on two feet for short periods, but most of the time it walks on all fours using the knuckles of its hands for support. 17. Gorillas do not have tails. 18. Gorillas are very intelligent and have even been taught to use sign language to communicate with humans. 19. Gorilla groups are led by a dominant male. The leader makes the most of the decisions for the group about where and when they will travel, eat and sleep. 20. Gorillas travel throughout the day, moving as needed to find food and good resting spots. 21. Every evening, each gorilla in a group builds a crude nest made of stems and leaves. The nest can be located on the ground or in a tree. Gorillas build a new nest every night and occasionally another for their midday nap. 22. Mountain gorillas have longer and denser hair than lowland gorillas. This helps them cope with the cooler temperatures found at higher elevations. 23. When a male gorilla becomes more mature, the hair on his back turn a silver color. Because of this, a mature male gorilla is called a “silverback.”  24. Gorilla are “herbivores” and eat leaves, stems, bark, roots, and fruit.   For more information about Gorillas and conservation efforts visit the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund website at www.gorillafund.org.
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