Fun Mountain Gorilla Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
Jan 14, 2023 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel
Read these mountain gorilla facts for kids about these critically endangered great apes
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.7 Min

Have you ever wondered how Tarzan lived with all those gorillas? It’s because we share 98 percent of our DNA with them!

Mountain gorillas are located in volcanic regions of the mountains in Central Africa. It’s quite sad to know that their population is on the decline, and they are put under the endangered category. However, initiatives are being taken to ensure these mountain gorillas thrive in nature.

Read on and learn much more about mountain gorillas. Some of the sub-species of mountain gorilla are Uganda mountain gorilla, eastern mountain gorilla, Rwanda mountain gorilla, African mountain gorilla.

These great apes are native to Virunga mountains of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. These great apes have been listed as an endangered species and concerted conservation efforts are required for restoring the population of the eastern gorilla.

Mountain gorilla conservation efforts are being organized in all their native regions and this includes habitat restoration and anti-poaching laws.

Get to learn what mountain gorillas eat, how they live, how their population is in danger, and how you can help save them. After reading facts about this critically endangered species, you may also look at Capuchin monkey facts and eastern lowland gorilla facts.

Mountain Gorilla Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a mountain gorilla?

A mountain gorilla, scientific name Gorilla beringei, is a gorilla. Mountain gorillas don’t have longer hands compared to other normal gorilla breeds. A mountain gorilla has a black back as they have black coat coverings.

What class of animal does a mountain gorilla belong to?

They are mammals and live in a gorilla habitat. Their genetics are very similar to that of humans.

How many mountain gorillas are there in the world?

Sadly, there are only 1,063 individuals alive to be called the mountain gorilla population. Conservation efforts for these great apes are being conducted across the region and in the wild.

Where does a mountain gorilla live?

There are two main populations: one is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, within three National Parks: Mgahinga, in southwest Uganda; Volcanoes, in northwest Rwanda; and Virunga, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The other mountain gorilla population is found in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

What is a mountain gorilla's habitat?

The mountain gorilla habitat includes dense forests in mountains in the wild. Their preferred habitat for these apes is areas is lots of trees with fruits.

Who do mountain gorillas live with?

Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei) live in their family groups. They are very social and friendly to all members of their family group. They are highly territorial and behave highly aggressively when any other group enters their territory, even if they are familiar faces.

How long does a mountain gorilla live?

The natural lifespan of this ape species is 40-50 years. However, mountain gorillas, despite having such a long lifespan, are endangered in today’s time.

How do they reproduce?

The mountain gorilla life cycle is such that they do not have a mating season, similar to human individuals. Female gorillas ovulate from the age of eight, whereas male gorillas mature only after they are 15 or older.

The female gorilla gives birth to 3-6 young gorillas in her lifetime. In comparison, a male gorilla can have 10-20 mountain gorilla babies during its lifecycle.

What is their conservation status?

The mountain gorilla endangered species status is a cause of concern. Their population has faced a lot of trouble from war, local communities, poaching, and diseases.

Tourism is another cause of their depleting population. Efforts for the conservation of the endangered mountain gorilla are being organized in regions, including anti-poaching laws and the restoration of the natural habitat in Rwanda, Congo and Uganda.

Mountain Gorilla Fun Facts

What do mountain gorillas look like?

They have long hair and shorter arms in comparison to other gorillas. A mountain gorilla adult has long and thick fur in a deep brown and black color.

Young male mountain gorillas are called “Blackbacks” as they have all black coats. Adult mountain gorillas are called “Silverbacks” as they have a swath of silver hair on them. Their head is conical in shape, they have short arms, and deeply set dark brown eyes encircled by a black ring around their iris.

A mountain gorilla has longer hair as compared to other gorilla subspecies.

How do they communicate?

A fun fact about mountain gorillas is that they have over 16 distinct calls for communication. This includes short barks and different hoots. Body language is also an important part of their communication. For example, stiff legs and broadening of shoulders is a warning sign for the rival adult mountain gorilla.

How big is a mountain gorilla?

One would be very surprised to know that they are very similar to an adult human. Their height is almost the same. But the gorilla looks shorter due to the curve in their spine.

How fast can a mountain gorilla move?

An adult mountain gorilla can run up to 25 mph. Usain Bolt is just a little faster than these gorillas and can run at 27 mph.

How much does a mountain gorilla weigh?

An adult mountain gorilla weight can be as heavy as 330 lb. This is mainly because all gorillas are large-sized and have heavy bodies.

What are their male and female names of the species?

A male mountain gorilla is called a male mountain gorilla and the female of this species is known as a female mountain gorilla.

What would you call a baby mountain gorilla?

A mountain gorilla baby would be called an infant just like human babies.

What do they eat?

This species enjoy a predominantly vegetarian diet. A mountain gorilla diet includes fruits, berries and also the bark of trees. The barks are known to be a great source of sodium. They also go to farms of local people to sometimes get corn and other vegetables.

Are they dangerous?

They are dangerous, yes. One bite from them can cause a lot of pain for humans. They also have fights over territories with other family groups.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they would not make a good pet. They tend to avoid human contact and keep to themselves. Also, taking care of a 6 foot animal who weighs over 100 kgs is not an easy feat.

Did you know...

98% of human DNA is similar to the DNA of this species. The mountain gorillas differ from us in factors like building immunity.

Mountain gorilla nose prints are used by humans for identification of the mountain gorilla.

They eat all the time! They are serial munchers and enjoy their bark and berries a lot.

Baby gorillas cuddle with their mother when they sleep.

Mountain gorilla adaptations for survival are producing a screaming sound when frightened, beating their chest to intimidate predators, as well as various behavioral adaptations.

Their bites are much more dangerous than even that of lions!

Mountain gorilla vs lowland gorilla

One stark difference between mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas is that mountain gorillas have longer hair and shorter arms. The lowland gorillas prefer flat lands with dense forests to live in.

What is being done to save the mountain gorilla?

This species has been categorized as endangered because of many factors.

War has resulted in the habitat destruction for the mountain gorilla. Along with this, many humans poach these animals to get their teeth, nails, and fur. They sell these items to industrialists, and also sometimes indulge in pet trade.

Plus, their immunity is not as developed as humans, but they are susceptible to most diseases that humans can get. This has also resulted in a decrease in population. Unfortunately, communities hunt down these animals, and burn down their habitat to get more area for cultivation.

But, many organizations are dedicated to mountain gorilla conservation. Some of the steps for these endangered animals are through balanced tourism. Organizations are creating ways to see and learn about these wild animals in a way that does not harm them.

Plus donations help. Donating money to organizations that help these wild animals is one way everyone can help to protect their population. Supporting local business is another way to help.

This way, the local communities get food and money, and they live without harming these animals. It is important to stop the sale of animal products, too. When selling products stops, incentives for poachers reduce.

This way, poaching will have no value, and the population can get restored. There must be strict action against poachers. These anti-poaching actions will also reduce the number of poachers and help in restoring the population of mountain gorillas.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammal including Hamadryas baboon, or Japanese macaque.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Mountain gorilla coloring pages.

democratic republic of congo rwanda and uganda

Get directions
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You


See All

Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel

Bachelor of Business Management

Yashvee Patel picture

Yashvee PatelBachelor of Business Management

Yashvee has won awards for both her writing and badminton skills. She holds a business administration honors degree and has previously interned with social media clients and worked on content for an international student festival. Yashvee has excelled in academic competitions, ranking in the top 100 in the Unified International English Olympiad and placing second in an essay-writing competition. Additionally, she has won the inter-school singles badminton title for two consecutive years.

Read full bio >