Get to know gorillas 10 interesting facts

Get to know gorillas 10 interesting facts


Discover these incredible, gentle giants of the forest…

Gorilla facts!

  1. There are two species of gorilla: Eastern and Western

Each species splits into two groups, known as subspecies. The four gorilla subspecies are eastern lowland gorillas, eastern mountain gorillas, western lowland gorillas, and western cross river gorillas! The Eastern lowland gorillas are famously found in Kahuzi Biega national park in the DR Congo.

Get to know gorillas, 10 interesting facts Eastern lowland gorilla in Kahuzi biega national park
Eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi biega national park


All wild gorillas live in central Africa, in an area split by a vast rainforest. One side has western gorillas, while the other has eastern!

  1. Gorillas are very social animals, who live together in groups

Gorillas spend a lot of time moving around their habitat in family groups known as ‘troops’. Each troop can contain up to 30 gorillas! This usually includes a dominant male, several females, and their young offspring. You can learn more about the different gorilla families in Uganda and Rwanda here.

  1. Gorillas can weigh over 200kg and stand as tall as an average human!

Gorillas are mostly herbivores, which means they only eat plants – up to 30kg of them per day! However, some subspecies have been known to eat insects and snails, too.

  1. Adult males are known as ‘silverbacks’

These powerful males can be more than 10 times stronger than an average human – they can tear down banana trees, bend iron bars and bite with more power than a lion! For the most part, though, they’re gentle giants, only using their full strength when they feel threatened.

  1. Gorillas are very clever, and have been recorded making and using tools!

Scientists have spotted wild gorillas using sticks to work out the depth of rivers and streams, making ladders from bamboo to help baby gorillas reach the treetops, and even fashioning ‘cutlery‘ from twigs – helping them to scoop up and snack on stinging insects and honey! Gorillas can live up to 40 years old, so they have lots of time to learn.

  1. Gorilla noseprints are as unique as human fingerprints!

As a result, scientists can identify individual gorillas by paying close attention to the shape of their nose. Unique scars or marks on their faces help, too!


Amazingly, gorillas share a whopping 98% of their DNA with humans!

  1. Primatologist Dr. Dian Fossey famously studied these incredible creatures

The scientist’s work with gorillas was revolutionary at the time. Like Dr. Jane Goodall‘s work with chimpanzees, Dian gave gorillas names and learnt about their personalities. Her work led her to become passionate about protecting gorillas from poaching.

  1. A captive gorilla called ‘Koko’ learned sign language!

Hanabi-Ko, known as ‘Koko’, was a female western lowland gorilla. Over her lifetime, she learned over 1,000 signs and was able to understand more than 2,000 English words.


Koko created many beautiful paintings throughout her life. She even took a photograph of herself in a mirror in 1978 – one of the earliest animal selfies!

  1. Sadly, gorillas are critically endangered

The biggest threat they face is habitat destruction, which leaves gorillas with fewer safe spaces to live. As their natural habitat declines, gorillas have to venture closer to areas where humans live, where they’re more likely to catch human diseases or fall victim to poaching.

  1. However, conservation efforts ARE working!

One subspecies, the mountain gorilla, has recently seen a record population high! At the last count, 1,063 of these awesome apes were found in the wild. Out of which Uganda and Rwanda hold the majority mountain gorillas with Uganda having more than half the world’s population of mountain gorillas in the wild which you can see on a Uganda gorilla trekking safari.

Mountain gorillas in Uganda are found in the Mgahinga gorilla national park in the Virunga mountain ranges and Bwindi impenetrable forest while in Rwanda they are found in the Volcanoes national park and the Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Support conservation efforts for the gorillas by booking a gorilla trekking safari from a rwanda gorilla trekking safari, a 3 days Uganda gorilla trekking safari to a 5 days gorilla trekking safari to DR Congo for both mountain gorillas in Virunga national park and lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Beiga national park in DR Congo.

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