Facts About gorillas , they are known to be massive , with a short , thick trunk and broad chest and shoulders . Its eyes and ears are dwarfed by its large head and hairless , shiny black muzzle . Older males develop a crown of muscle and hair that makes the head look even longer . The arms are longer than the stubby legs . The fully adult male mountain gorilla is twice as large as the female .
The most serious threat to gorillas is habitat loss . The rich volcanic soil of the Virunga is as highly valued as farming land . In Rwanda , Uganda and Congo , a regional conservation program stressing the importance of maintaining the virgin forest watershed and the need to habituate some groups of gorillas for tourist visits has helped ease encroachment .
About Gorillas Behavior
The gorilla is shy and retiring rather than ferocious and treacherous . It usually seeks no trouble unless harassed but will valiantly defend its family group if threatened . Family groups are close - knit and may have up to 30 members , but even if smaller , the group usually consists of at least one older male , one or more females and a few juveniles .
Gorillas have strong attachments to members of their own group and even when groups meet and mingle and then subsequently part , each animal tends to remain with its respective unit . An adult male called a silverback named for the silvery gray hairs on its back normally leads each group , serving as its chief protector and defender . Gorillas continually wander through their home ranges of 10 to 15 square miles , feeding and resting throughout the day . Because gorillas are nomadic , they build new nests each day at dusk , constructing them of bent branches in a tree or of grasses on the ground .
A group 's hierarchy , ritualized behavior and bluff charges between males prevents conflict among and between groups . Gorillas scream , grab foliage and stuff it in their mouths , stand erect on their hind legs , tear up and throw plants , drum on the chest with hands or fists , stamp their feet , strike the ground with the palms of their hands and gallop in a mock attack on all fours .
About Gorilla Diet
Animals of this size need a lot of food , and the vegetarian gorilla is no exception . Although they eat a variety of plants , favorites include wild celery , bamboo , thistles , stinging nettles , bedstraw and certain fruit . These plants seem to provide sufficient moisture so that gorillas do not need water .
About Gorillas Caring for the Young
Mountain gorillas have a slow rate of reproduction . Females give birth for the first time at about age 10 and will have more offspring every three or four years . A male begins to breed between 12 and 15 years , when he is in charge of his own group . Able to conceive for only about three days each month , the female produces a single young .
Newborn gorillas are weak and tiny , weighing in at about 4 pounds . Their movements are as awkward as those of human infants , but their development is roughly twice as fast . At 3 or 4 months , the gorilla infant can sit upright and can stand with support soon after . It suckles regularly for about a year and is gradually weaned at about 31 / 2 years , when it becomes more independent .
The gorillas only known enemies are leopards and humans . Crocodiles are potentially dangerous to lowland gorillas . In western Africa , gorillas are commonly hunted for meat or in retaliation for crop raiding , but in eastern Africa they have been the victims of snares and traps set for antelope and other animals . Poachers have also destroyed entire family groups in their attempts to capture infant gorillas for zoos , while others are killed to sell their heads and hands as trophies .