Healthy diets

Dietary Habits of the Gorilla

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: May 1, 2019
Dietary Habits of the Gorilla

Gorillas are the largest primates in existence today and, genetically, they are one of the closest animals to humans. This is because, surprisingly, 98% of their DNA is the same as ours. Another striking feature they share with humans is that each gorilla has unique fingerprints.

They can weigh 200 kilograms (440 pounds) and can sometimes reach 1.75 meters (5'8'') in height. Due to their characteristics, these primates are truly fascinating for most of us animal lovers. Stay with us at AnimalWised to learn all about the dietary habits of the gorilla.

You may also be interested in: Dietary Habits of the Toucan


  1. Where do gorillas live?
  2. What do gorillas eat?
  3. How do gorillas get their food?
  4. Large appetites and bigger responsibility

Where do gorillas live?

An animal's habitat directly impacts on its diet; therefore, it is important to get to know the gorilla's distribution and environment. Gorillas mainly live in Africa, but they also inhabit many different areas. The genus is divided according to the origin of the species; there is the Eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei) and the Western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla).

In the African continent, gorillas can be found in either one of two environments:

  • Lowland areas: These gorillas live in forests and areas close to swamps where they can find plenty of trees, fruit and leaves.
  • Areas of high altitude: These mountainous regions are situated at a higher altitude, where food is scarce. Still, a smaller number of gorillas live in this environment.

Gorillas don't stay in the same place for more than a day; they have well-defined migration patterns.

Dietary Habits of the Gorilla - Where do gorillas live?

What do gorillas eat?

Gorillas have a robust build and very sharp teeth. Due to these characteristics, many people think they eat meat, but nothing could be further from the truth. Gorillas are herbivores.

The majority of a gorilla's diet consists of fruit, leaves, twigs, branches and berries. They can eat small insects, but these only represent 1-2% of their diet. In some places, gorillas have access to approximately 200 different types of plants, fruit and trees which are very nutritious and allow for a varied diet.

Another similarity with humans is that gorillas seem to need different kinds of nutrients, such as fiber, sugar, protein and water.

Dietary Habits of the Gorilla - What do gorillas eat?

How do gorillas get their food?

Another important feature of the gorillas' diet is that they use various tools to get to their food. This is another similar characteristic to humans.

When gorillas go looking for food, if they have to cross a swamp they will use sticks to measure the depth of water. They also use stones to pull fruit apart to get to the pulp. Moreover, gorillas get water to their mouths by clasping their hands together like a bowl - a gesture that you've surely made sometimes!

Dietary Habits of the Gorilla - How do gorillas get their food?

Large appetites and bigger responsibility

Gorillas can eat up to 18 kilos (40 pounds) of food a day. This is why they spend most of the day eating; they have a large appetite, a very big stomach and a really quick digestive system.

Despite their huge appetite and desire for food, gorillas always behave responsibly. In fact, they never run out of food in a specific area, hence their migratory habits. They look to their future!

Dietary Habits of the Gorilla - Large appetites and bigger responsibility

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Dietary Habits of the Gorilla