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Gorillas are the Kings of the Jungle

There’s more to learn about gorillas than what you’ve seen in King Kong.

Rather than stomping through New York City, gorillas live in the rain forests of Africa.

Read on to find out more fun facts about the king of the jungle!

Primates Related to People

  • Gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and bonobos are species of great apes, which are the closest relative to humans. In fact, 98 percent of your DNA would look exactly like a gorilla’s.
  • One reason the gorilla is known as the “king of the jungle” is because it’s the largest of the primates. A male gorilla can weigh 300 to 400 pounds, while a female is about half the size, at 150 to 250 pounds.
  • While humans walk on two legs, the gorilla carries its weight around on all four limbs. This is known as knuckle-walking, and it works because their arms are longer than their legs.

The Real King of the Jungle

  • Gorillas live in groups of about 6-12 and are usually led by the oldest and largest male.
  • The leading male is known as a silverback, and he makes all of the decisions for the group, also known as a band. He’s in charge of when the females and their young wake up, eat, sleep, and move to a new location.
  • The silverback earns his reputation as King of the Jungle based on his ability to protect his band. He is the most dangerous of the group and scares away predators by charging directly at them or beating his chest.
  • Other animals fear the gorilla so much that they have few natural predators.

Two Different Species

  • There are two species of gorillas, and they are identified by where they live, although they are generally near the Equator. The two species are known as the Western Gorilla and the Eastern Gorilla, and they are separated by the Congo Basin Forest.
  • Those two species are further broken down into subspecies based on their location. The Western Lowland Gorilla and the Cross River Gorilla are Western Gorillas, and the Mountain Gorilla and Eastern Lowland (also known as Grauer’s Gorilla) are Eastern Gorillas.
  • All four types are endangered to some degree as a result of hunting, loss of forests and diseases.

Gorilla Diet

  • Gorillas prefer a herbivore diet, which includes vegetables, roots, fruits and tree bark. However, some gorillas do eat insects and small animals, such as mice, snails, and caterpillars.
  • Some males eat up to 40 pounds of vegetation a day. Think about that next time you have to eat your vegetables!
  • Because of how much vegetation they eat, gorillas don’t have to drink much water. Because vegetation is made up of almost half water, they get most of the fluids they need.
  • Gorillas are picky when it comes to their food. Most of the time, they only eat part of a plant or fruit.

What was your favorite fact you learned about the king of the jungle? Let us know!

For facts about tigers, click here.

For facts about sharks, click here.

For facts about snakes, click here.

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