Silverback Gorilla Fun Facts; Silverback Gorillas are the largest primates on planet. After bonobos and chimpanzees, gorillas are the closest relatives to humans said to have DNA of about 98% similar to that of humans. Well, Gorillas can be seen in the great forest of East, Central and Western Africa. They are divided into two main species; the eastern gorilla and the western gorilla and then the western gorilla is divided into two subspecies; the western lowland gorillas and the cross-river gorilla.
The Eastern gorillas include the mountain gorillas and the Eastern Lowland gorilla ‘’known as Grauers Gorilla’’. Among all the gorilla subspecies, the Eastern Lowland gorilla is the largest, come along the mountain gorilla and the cross-river gorilla is the smallest of the lot.
Currently western lowland gorillas count over 300,000, 5000 Eastern lowland gorillas,1,000 mountain gorillas and less than 400 cross river gorillas.
Note, all subspecies of gorillas are considered critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature ‘’IUCN’’. For that reason, their number have reduced considerably in the past years. Such as human diseases, habitat destruction and poaching for meat is most threat to wild gorillas.
Silverback Gorilla – Size, Height and Lifespan
Gorillas live in groups and led by a silverback. Silverback doesn’t regard to a particular species of gorillas but a mature male gorilla. Silverback gorillas are renowned by a grayish white hairline around the back and shoulders. A male gorilla is too old to be a juvenile but too young to be a silverback is referred to as a blackback.
A silverback is much larger than a female.
Compared to a female, a silverback gorilla has a larger head, body and can weigh up to 270 kilograms.
The male gorilla becomes an adult at about 8 years of age and at this age can be referred to as blackbacks. They become fully grown at about 12 to 13 years of age- at this age can be called silverback. At the age of 13 years, it’s when their hair down the back and across the shoulders becomes whitish or greyish in color.
A mature and blackback will live close to a particular group and attempt to dethrone the dominant silverback as soon as he is strong enough. If he fails to dethrone a leader of a particular gorilla family, he will be forced to steal females from that group to form his own family.
Note that, some males never leave their original group on reaching maturity. They will stay loyal to the dominant silverback and help to save the group from intruders. This arrangement is more common with mountain gorillas and unique western lowland gorillas. While it is very possible to find number of silverback gorillas in a group and a group must have one dominant silverback. Note, the dominant silverback is the leader of the group and has the authority to the group.
The silverback is role is catered for what they will eat, rest and is entitled to mate with all the females in the group. Gorilla mating is often initiated by the female upon reaching maturity.
Despite the fact, the dominant silverback is in the charge of a group containing between 5 to 35 individuals. A gorilla group contains several females, adolescents, infants and some adult males. Females leave the group upon reaching maturity in order to avoid mating with the father.
Strength of A Silverback Gorilla?
Truly, a fully grown silverback gorilla weighs twice of an adult male. They are over 9 times stronger than an adult male and their body weight and strength is all because of robusticity – which means a higher ratio of muscle mass. Just take note, no fight has been recorded between an adult male and a silverback gorilla, knows who the winner will be. Fact, angry silverback would beat the man to a pulp.
Is silverback Gorilla Aggressive?
The dominant silverback gorilla leads by charisma and it is always peaceful and rarely uses force.
A silverback gorilla can become aggressive when it experiences a threat, intruders. Intruders means males from other groups, stubborn member of his group, animals’ species or human visiting a group that is not habituated. When a silverback gorilla recognizes a fight from another group, he will first attempt to warn off the intruder.
If the above action doesn’t work out, he will tear up and through plants at the intruder while making a deafening sound. Silverback will then make a mock attack while using all four legs. And all this doesn’t work, he will choose to attack directly and deliver a blow with the hands or teeth. A silverback gorilla will defend his group especially infants to the death. That is one reason why poachers and pet traders target the silverback if they wish to capture an infant.
What do silverback gorilla eat?
In general silverback gorillas eat mainly plants that consists of fruits, shoots and leaves. They also eat termites, ants and small insects.
Mountain gorilla silverback diet is slightly different but mainly consists stems and leaves. They also feed on flowers, fungi and bark. There are two seasons ‘’ rainy or dry’’ and both seasons determines which kind of food is prevalent.
In fact, mountain gorillas live a life of plenty because they are exposed to variety of vegetation than the other gorilla subspecies.
Where to see silverback gorillas;
Where are silverback gorilla found? Silverback gorillas are inhabitant of dense forests of East, Central and Western Africa. Lowland gorillas can be seen in forests and swamps along the Congo River basin.
Mountain Gorillas are found in the wider Virunga conservation region and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. If you want to visit wild eastern lowland gorillas, we recommend you to visit Maiko National Park, Kahuzi Biega National Park among others. The western lowland gorillas are found in Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Central Africa Republic, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea. Mountain gorillas live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in Congo.
What are the best places to see silverback gorillas?
The best places to see gorillas to silverback gorillas are Bwindi National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, Virunga National Park and Kahuzi -Biega National Park.
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