By anyone's estimate gorillas are huge primates, and - of course, as a species there are the world's largest. But how do they get that big? Is it something they eat or are other factors involved?

Mountain Gorilla lifestyle

During daylight hours gorillas have set periods for certain activities. These comprise mostly of rest periods, travel or feeding periods. With regards to mountain gorillas, they mostly eat foliage such as leaves, stems, pith, and shoots of terrestrial herbaceous vegetation. As a rule, high protein foods which are low in fiber and tannins are preferred. They will also occasionally eat fruit, but this only makes up a very small part of their diet.

Bamboo is also a favored food item and mountain gorillas will spend much time digging to unearth the tender shoots. Little competition exists between mountain gorilla family groups for resources as they rely on food that is readily available and easily accessed.

They have small home ranges that vary between 3 and 15 km², and are unlikely to move any further than 500 metres on in average day. Despite eating relatively few plant species in each habitat, mountain gorillas do have a flexible diet and can occupy a wide variety of habitats in their range to incorporate this.

Lowland Gorilla lifestyle

Lowland gorillas have a more diverse diet compared to mountain gorillas which varies as the seasons progress. Like the mountain gorilla, leaves and pith are staples of their diet. However, unlike the mountain gorilla, fruit forms a much greater part of their diet - when it's available. In fact, fruits can be as much as 25% of their diet. The trouble is that fruit is relatively scarce, so lowland gorillas have to travel farther each day and therefore have larger home ranges - 2.7 to 6.5 km² and day ranges of up to 2300 m. Eastern lowland gorillas will also eat insects, but preferably ants.

Western lowland gorillas do not have much access to high quality terrestrial herbs, although some areas in their range are rich in aquatic herbs.

These gorillas depend on fruits more than the others and they are more dispersed across their range. As such, western lowland gorilla travel the farthest of all the gorilla species and have the largest home ranges. They travel up to 1100 metres per day on average and have home ranges 7–14 km².

Termites and ants also make a staple of the western lowland gorillas diet.

What do Gorillas drink?

A strange question granted, but Gorillas rarely drink water. Why? Because they manage to get most of their water by consuming succulent vegetation. that is comprised of almost half water as well as morning dew", although both mountain and lowland gorillas have been observed drinking.

What eats gorillas?

Now that we know what gorillas eat, are there any predators - outside of man - that would eat a gorilla? One possible predator of gorillas is the leopard. Evidence of gorilla remains have been found in leopard scat but it is possible that this may be the result of scavenging. Research has shown that when a group of gorillas is attacked by humans, leopards, or other gorillas, the silverback will protect them even at the cost of his own life. In fact there is one report that a silverback gorilla and a leopard were both found dead from mutually inflicted wounds.

For related articles click onto the following links:

No comments: