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.
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.
What do gorillas eat?
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.
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!
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!
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