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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Subfamily: Homininae
Tribe: Gorillini
Genus: Gorilla
Sexual dimorphism of the skull: adult male left, female right

The gorilla is the largest member of the ape family. They may be aggressive when attacked or provoked, but they are naturally gentle animals. They are completely vegetarian, unlike chimpanzees.

Life span

A gorilla's lifespan is between 35 and 40 years, although zoo gorillas may live for 50 years and more.


  • Genus Gorilla
    • Western Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla
      • Western Lowland Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla gorilla
      • Cross River Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla diehli
    • Eastern Gorilla, Gorilla beringei
      • Mountain Gorilla, Gorilla beringei beringei
      • Eastern Lowland Gorilla, Gorilla beringei graueri


Gorillas are the biggest primates. They can become very heavy, and are very strong. A male gorilla can weigh up to 225 kilograms and stand 1.8 meters in height. Gorillas are peaceful animals that live in family groups called troops. They have a broad chest, wide shoulders, short legs, and long, powerful, strong arms. They have black skin and fur. Male gorillas' fur becomes silver/grey on their backs as they become older. Because of that older males are called silverbacks.


where gorillas live

Gorillas live in the rainforests in central Africa. They mostly live on the ground, but they can also climb. When on the ground, they walk on their feet and finger knuckles. Troops of gorillas wander slowly through the forests of Central Africa. For about half of their day they search for leaves, vines, and bamboo shoots to eat. For the rest of the day, they lay in the sun and play with their children. If another gorilla threatens them, the troop's leader, the silverback, protects them by rearing up and beating his chest. Few animals can survive the attack of an angry gorilla.

Gorillas sleep in nests that they build on the ground. At the end of each day, each adult gorilla will spend a few minutes putting together a soft, flat bed made of leaves, branches, and moss. The young gorillas sleep with their mothers.

The gestation period (when a baby grows inside the mother) of a gorilla lasts between eight and ten months. Gorillas almost always produce one offspring - twins are rare. Gorilla babies begin to hang onto their mothers when they are only a few hours old and will continue to do so for the next three years. Gorillas live up to 50 years in the wild and up to 54 years in captivity.[1]

Famous Gorillas

A gorilla named Mathis was showcased at various circus shows. He was reputed for having a loud scream.

Related pages


  1. Blue Planet Level 5, written by Dinorah Pous p.71 to p.72