Feeding Nature
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What Do Gorillas Eat?

What Do Gorillas Eat?

Gorillas are the biggest and most powerful primates found on earth.  These huge apes can weigh up to 200kgs and can reach a height of up to 170cm tall.  In the wild, gorillas can live for over 40 years.  Even though they are primates, they are mostly ground-dwelling and they are divided into two main species; the Easter gorilla and the Western gorilla.

Gorillas are members of the Hominidae family and they prefer to dwell in tropical areas and forests where they can find lots of food to eat and lots of sheltering.

It is very important to take good care of gorillas in captivity or conservations and it is even more important to reserve their natural food sources because these animals are highly endangered.

What Do Gorillas Eat?

As you can imagine, these huge primates do have quite a healthy appetite.  Gorillas are usually herbivores which mean they mostly eat plant matter.  They will, however, sometimes deviate from their vegetarian diet and may also consume other food types.  Gorillas eat all sorts of plant types such as the following:

Plants

Gorillas spend most of their time grazing.  They mostly feed on foliage.  These animals can eat a variety of plant types.  They eat over 142 plant species.  They consume 86% shoots, stems, and leaves, 2% fruits, 3% flowers, and 7% plant roots.  It is also believed that gorillas enjoy eating the soil that surrounds plant roots to help their digestive system or to supply them with needed minerals.

Most gorilla species are quite fond of bamboo plants.  The mountain gorilla is especially fond of this plant variety and spends most of its time in bamboo rich areas.

Fruits

Gorillas enjoy eating fruit but this food can be hard to reach.  The Western lowland gorilla is the gorilla species that eat the most fruit.  Gorillas enjoy eating a variety of fruit types such as bananas, apples, berries, grapes, oranges, and especially wild berries they find in trees.

Insects

Gorillas often consume insects while munching on plant matter.  Eastern lowland gorillas are especially fond of eating insects.  They love to eat termites and ants and might also break open termite nests to reach larvae.

Meat

Gorillas will sometimes eat meat.  They can catch small animals such as mice, rats, or birds and will eat these animals if they lack protein in their diet.  The silverback gorilla has been known to eat meat and might even attack and eat other primates.

Mountain Dew

Strangely enough, these huge animals typically do not drink any water.  They get all their needed moisture from mountain dew and the moisture found in plants.  To stay hydrated, gorillas need to feed all day long.

Diet Variations

Typically, these animals stick to plant sources but they will occasionally also eat meat.  Feeding on other animals is one of the biggest diet variations that these animals might have.

How to Feed Gorillas

Despite their huge size, gorillas are quite fragile.  They rely on a versatile diet to stay healthy and nourished.  Their huge appetite and their need for green foliage make them quite challenging to care for.  These animals need to feed from morning to afternoon with just a short nap in the midday.  In this time, they need to feed enough to support their huge bodies and to stay hydrated.

What Do Gorillas Eat In the Wild?

In the wild, gorillas feed mostly on plant matter.  They consume over 142 plant varieties and may occasionally feed on termites and termite larvae.  On rare occasions, gorillas have also been spotted eating smaller animals such as mice or other primates.  This is however a very rare sight.

What Do Gorillas Eat in Captivity?

In captivity, gorillas are supplied with lots of fresh green plants every single day.  They rely on fresh foliage because they typically do not drink water from streams but instead get all their needed moisture from the food they consume.  In captivity, gorillas eat mostly the leaves, shoots, stems, bark, and roots of plants, and they are also frequently supplied with fruits.

What do Baby Gorillas Eat?

Baby gorillas are called infants.  Gorillas are mammals and rely on their mothers for survival.  Infant and juvenile gorillas will drink from their mothers for up to 7.2 years.  They are usually weaned between 3.5 and 7.2 years of age.

Infants usually start to eat some vegetation from 2.5 months old.  By 6 – 7 months old, infants mostly feed on plants.

How Much Do Gorillas Eat?

Gorillas need to feed all day to get all the nutrients and moisture they need for maintaining strong and healthy bodies.  An adult gorilla eats about 30kg of fresh plant matter per day.

How Often Do Gorillas Eat?

These animals need to graze all day long.  They usually start grazing at around 6 am in morning.  During midday, gorillas usually take a long nap to help them digest their food.  After their nap, they will resume feeding until dusk.

Do Gorillas Eat Meat?

These animals are mostly vegetarian.  The silverback gorilla is however omnivorous and will eat meat if they can find small animals to catch and feed on.  A gorilla eating meat is however quite uncommon.  The first proof that gorillas eat monkeys wasn’t documented until 2010.

Do Gorillas Eat Bananas?

Gorillas do eat bananas.  But they usually don’t just eat the fruits of this plant.  They have incredibly strong hands and arms and can break apart banana trees so they can feed on the tender and moist pit of these trees.

Do Gorillas Attack Humans?

It is uncommon for gorillas to attack humans.  Gorillas have been known to attack and kill humans but these incidents are not common.  In most cases, gorillas only attacked humans if they felt threatened.  Wild gorillas can however be very aggressive and dangerous.  It is best to steer clear from a troop of gorillas should you encounter them in the wild.

Do Gorillas Eat Humans?

The silverback gorilla can eat meat and have been documented to eat monkeys.  But feeding on meat is a very uncommon incident.  Gorillas are also not known to attack humans often, let alone feed on the corpses of humans.