Gorillas are amazingly large and muscular apes that reside on the ground. They are exclusively found in the forests and jungles of central Africa, residing nowhere else in the world. There are only three distinguishable species of gorilla found within the entire world. These are:
- The Eastern Gorilla
- The Western Lowland Gorilla
- The Mountain Gorilla
Not much is known about these elusive mammals as they are unfortunately incredibly shy of humans. Their reclusive nature is mainly due to years of poaching, many gorillas now reside in sanctuaries which helps to keep them safe in today’s world. These locations are often well protected and as a result gorillas are slowly starting to grow in numbers again.
In this article, we’re going to explore the strength of a gorilla compared to that of a human! We’re also going to share some interesting facts about these gentle giants.
The Average Gorilla’s Strength
Gorillas are incredibly gentle and calm animals and don’t often show great displays of strength unless they absolutely have to.
There have been recorded cases of gorillas in captivity escaping from their enclosures by bending the iron bars to their cages. In the wild, they are also known to tear down entire banana trees in order to reach the fruit. These feats easily show just how strong gorillas really are.
Scientists have given rough estimates with gorilla strength compared to a human and most agree that they are easily over 6 times stronger.
When adult gorillas feel threatened they are known to make displays of how powerful they are. They will usually beat their chests, stand upright and make themselves appear even larger to scare away potential threats.
An interesting note on a gorilla’s biology is that their arms are much longer than their legs and much bulkier as well, this allows them to walk on all fours and still keep a relatively upright stature.
Physical Traits Of Gorillas
Gorillas will usually get around by walking on their knuckles. They are capable of walking bipedally for short distances as well in order to carry food easily or to better defend themselves from any threats.
The average adult male will weigh around 130kg and stand to a height of 1.6 meters tall. Female gorillas are usually slightly smaller and can weigh upwards from 70kg and stand around 1.3 meters tall. A baby gorilla will be carried around on their mothers back or stomach and only weigh around 1.8kg. Once a gorilla reaches age 7 to 10 they fully mature and start contributing more to the troop.
Gorillas are mainly herbivores and prefer to eat plant-based matter found within their forest and jungle homes. Some subspecies have been known to “fish” for termites and ants in insect mounds. They do this by using sticks as improvised tools.
A gorilla’s strength also allows them to break down smaller trees in order to reach the lush foliage or fruits growing out of their reach. They don’t usually drink much water as they get more than enough hydration from the plants and foliage that make up the bulk of their diet.
The Silverback Gorilla Strength
Silverback gorillas are usually the oldest males in the group. These particular apes tend to grow a large amount of silver hair along their backs as well as large canine teeth with their maturity.
When it comes to how much a silverback gorilla can lift there have been recordings of them being able to lift weights of up to 800kg! This goes to show that a silverback’s strength is absolutely unrivaled.
A large silverback gorilla can weigh as much as 160kg. Roaming bands of gorillas are always well protected by the silverback who will always be the first to gauge a threat and won’t hesitate to protect his family with all his might.
Silverback gorillas have been known to accept some humans into their bands with time. There have been cases of these gorillas even grooming and treating humans as their own. Their gentle nature is very evident in these events.
Top 3 Facts On Gorillas
Here are just a few things you may not know about these incredibly powerful and majestic mammals.
1. Gorillas Are Sophisticated Communicators
Gorillas are incredibly intelligent animals, there have been many reported cases of gorillas in captivity learning sign language. This allowed for the great apes to communicate with whoever they were staying with, creating simple ideas and requests with their hands.
2. Young Gorillas Sleep High-up
Their sleeping spaces are referred to as “nests”. Nature conservationists have discovered that younger gorillas make their nests higher up in the tree canopies, while older gorillas rest at the base of said trees.
This could be because the younger gorillas are lighter and more nimble than the larger and older ones.
3. There Is A Difference Between The Subspecies Appearance
The subspecies of gorillas are quite distinguishable from each other. Eastern and western lowland gorillas can have light brown colored coats, with reddish hair on their heads and shoulders. They also have relatively short and fine hair
Mountain gorillas are noticeably different. They have incredibly dark hair and are much more bushy than their lowland counterparts. Mountain gorillas are also incredibly reclusive and are rarely seen by humans.
The Discovery Of Gorillas
There have been records of merchants and explorers visiting Africa from Carthage more than 2000 years ago stumbling across a group of lowland gorillas.
They were astounded to discover these massive apes for the first time in the world. The name gorilla actually originates from the ancient Greek word gorillai, which translates literally to “tribe of hairy women”.
The discovery of the Carthinian explorers remained largely unpublished until in the early 1600s when an English sailor was captured by the Portuguese in Western Africa.
Once he was freed and returned to England he told everyone of the man-like apes. He said that they would visit the campfires when everyone had left to go sleep. These were gorillas that were curious about the fire and leftovers of the Portuguese.
With time these small findings eventually led to news companies publishing papers on the discovery of these great apes. Slowly, but surely, everyone learned of these magnificent creatures.
Final Thoughts On Gorillas And Their Strength
There are only around 106 000 gorillas left in the entire world. However, when it comes to the elusive mountain gorilla there are only around 880 left.
Their numbers are dwindling due to civil wars, poaching and the destruction of their natural habitat. Raising awareness about these magnificent animals can help keep them around for many more years to come.
A gorilla’s strength is rarely shown in any violent or aggressive way unless they feel very threatened. They are incredibly calm and intelligent herbivores who are inquisitive and curious about new things.
If you wish to see these great apes, there are specific tours that can take you into their habitat. Just remember to show the appropriate respect for their homes and nature.