Fun Western Lowland Gorilla Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 18, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
Amazing western lowland gorilla facts that will feed your curiosity.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 11.4 Min

The smallest of all types of gorillas are the western lowland gorillas. Poaching and illegal trading have pushed them to the verge of extinction.

They are listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List.

They are elusive and prefer to live among dense vegetation and remote areas of forests around the Congo Basin, this makes it hard to say just how many of them are left in the world, but the experts assume the number to be around 100,000. They live a long life of about 35-40 years but are slow to reproduce.

The mortality rate is high among infants and it might take as much as six to eight years to produce surviving babies. They are herbivores and prefer to eat fruits, berries, leaves, and sometimes juicy plant stems.

They play an important role in the ecosystem by dispersing the seeds of the fruits they eat, which in turn, helps the regrowth of vegetation that they rely upon.

It is pretty easy to identify them due to their lighter colored hair and distinctive, hunch-backed walk. If you are interested in learning more fun facts about the western lowland gorilla, silverback gorillas, and their show of dominance or western lowland gorilla diet, we suggest you keep reading on.

If you like reading fun articles about animals, then check out our similar ones on the Sumatran Orangutan and eastern lowland gorilla.

 

Western Lowland Gorilla Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Western Lowland Gorilla?

Like all other gorillas, western lowland gorillas are primates. This species of gorilla are usually friendly and peaceful unless threatened in some way. The adult males, though, are known for chest-beating in a display of strength.

What class of animal does a Western Lowland Gorilla belong to?

Much like all other primates, western lowland gorillas are mammals, which means that they give birth to live young instead of laying eggs. Young gorillas are known to grow at double the growth rate of human young and are usually able to crawl by the time they are about three months old.

How many Western Lowland Gorillas are there in the world?

Although it is impossible to give an accurate number of their total population, as they are elusive and tend to live in remote parts of the forests, experts believe that the number could be somewhere around 100,000.

Poaching around their natural habitat has pushed this species to the verge of extinction, but thankfully after they were listed as Critically Endangered, some conservation groups are working to raise awareness to protect them.

Where does a Western Lowland Gorilla live?

They are mostly found in the forests of the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and most other countries in Central Africa.

What is a Western Lowland Gorilla's habitat?

They need sunlight to bask in, which is why they tend to live in tropical forests where the open structure of the canopy allows a lot of sunlight to reach the ground. They prefer to walk around the forest grounds in the daytime, except for when they are hunting for food.

In the night though they tend to sleep up on the trees, away from the reach of potential predators.

Who do Western Lowland Gorillas live with?

This gorilla species is known for living in family groups of usually 5-15 members. A single group might consist of a silverback male and a few adult females and their babies. Adult males are known for fighting to protect their group from intruding male gorillas who are keen on taking over the group and killing said young.

How long does a Western Lowland Gorilla live?

The western lowland gorilla lifespan is around 35-40 years. But some of them in captivity have been known to live as long as 50 years.

Hunting these great apes for the infamous gorilla skull trade was active until as recently as some decades ago. As a result, the population of this gorilla subspecies has been pushed to the verge of extinction.

How do they reproduce?

Much like humans, there is no particular breeding season for these animals, and the females are known to menstruate once every month. Their gestation period is nine months, which is again similar to humans.

After this time one infant is born. The babies tend to nurse for three to four years, and the females also tend to give birth at three to four year intervals.

The mortality rate is high among these infants, either by some disease or by a new leader of the group who is intent on having his own offspring.

The babies are completely dependent on their mother for food and transportation purposes. The males do not really have a direct hand in raising these children apart from fighting to keep them safe.

What is their conservation status?

This gorilla species is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Illegal hunting for the infamous gorilla skull trade has pushed this gorilla population to the verge of extinction.

Unfortunately, although the countries where wild gorillas are inhabitants of the forests tend to have laws prohibiting their hunting, in none of them are those laws strongly enforced. Apart from that, another major reason for the decrease in their numbers is habitat loss due to heavy deforestation for agricultural purposes as well as urbanization.

Western Lowland Gorilla Fun Facts

What do Western Lowland Gorillas look like?

Western lowland gorillas are large-bodied animals. They do not possess any tails, and their jet black skin is covered with dark-colored hair, the only exception is their face, hands, and feet.

The dark hair on the back of male gorillas tend to grow gray with age, this is why they are sometimes called silverback males. They have short muzzles and large nostrils.

Their eyes as well as ears are small in size. Another distinctive facial feature is that their brow ridge is pretty prominent. There is sexual dimorphism in this gorilla species.

Males usually have larger bodies than female gorillas. Although they can stand upright, they have a very noticeable walk, with their backs hunched and hands dragging on the ground.

Interesting western lowland gorilla facts that will amaze you.

How cute are they?

The adult females and males look more ferocious than cute. But do not get fooled by their appearance, these animals are actually quite peaceful and friendly in nature. Western lowland gorilla babies, however, can be extremely cute.

The babies of these gorillas have been compared quite a lot with human children, in their behavior. Like human babies, their infants tend to cling to their mothers and are suckled till they are about three to four years of age.

The infants are also known for mostly spending their time playing, and swinging from trees. They look like miniature versions of their adult counterparts. Just how cute is that!

How do they communicate?

Western lowland gorillas communicate by vocalizations, body language, and sometimes even through chest-beating. They beat their chests as a show of dominance intended to intimidate other males to stay away.

They also use hoots to alert other members of their family groups of potential dangers. They are also tactile creatures and are thought to communicate that way. Some also assume that they even use chemical trails or scents sometimes to communicate with each other.

The males can sometimes aggressively charge towards a challenging male gorilla intending to take over their group by killing the infants of the previous male. They do this repeatedly but are not really known for hitting the intruding male.

How big is a Western Lowland Gorilla?

Although gorillas are known to be the largest members of the great ape family, western lowland gorillas are actually quite a bit smaller than other types of gorillas. There is a little sexual dimorphism noticed in these animals.

The males when standing upright can reach up to a height of 5.9 ft (1.8 m) tall, and females have been found to be around 4.6 ft (1.4 m) tall when standing upright. Their arm span is about 6.5-8 ft (20-24 m) wide.

Interestingly, this is around the same height as that of a horse. To know more fun facts about western lowland gorilla size, keep reading on.

How fast can a Western Lowland Gorilla move?

These animals with whom humans share 98% of the DNA structure are also pretty fast. They have been known to move at speeds of up to 25 mph (40 kph). They are also known for aggressively charging forward to ward off intruding or challenging males who intend to take over the group of the silverback.

How much does a Western Lowland Gorilla weigh?

Even though they are smaller than most other species of gorillas, western lowland gorillas are still big and heavy creatures. They normally tend to weigh around 150-500 lb (68-226.8 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Just like most other primates, these great apes do not have gender-specific names for their male and female counterparts. Males are just known as male western lowland gorillas, and the females are just known as female western lowland gorillas.

There is sexual dimorphism in this gorilla subspecies. The male gorilla tends to has somewhat of a larger body and is heavier than the female gorilla.

What would you call a baby Western Lowland Gorilla?

Much like with humans, the babies of western gorillas are called infants. The infant mortality rate is extremely high among this critically endangered species of great apes of Central Africa.

So much so, that surviving young can be as far apart as six to eight years. Sometimes intruding males intending to take over a certain group kill these infants in order to have their own young.

If a silverback male of a certain group gets overthrown in a battle of dominance with the intruding or challenging male, he is then forced to leave the group. These silverback male western lowland gorillas rarely form another group and are known for simply taking on the lone male lifestyle.

What do they eat?

Western lowland gorillas are known to be herbivores. They mostly feed on fruits, leaves, berries, ferns, and other vegetation in their natural habitat around the Congo Basin.

This great ape species is also known for feeding on juicy plant stems and fibrous barks in the tropical forests of Central Africa.

Although western lowland gorillas prefer to walk on the ground, they are known for climbing trees quite high to search for food.

They never really lay bar a certain area completely of vegetation, and the rapid growth of these food sources allows them to stay within a fairly confined area in the forests of the Central African Republic.

These gorillas are known for hunting for food in the morning and afternoon, which allows them to stay within their territory during the night and take rest without thinking about potential predators.

Are they loud?

Gorillas are usually very quiet, peaceful, and amiable creatures. They make a sort of purring sound to communicate that they are contented.

Sometimes, though, it can be very loud around them when they are active and are communicating with their group members. They are also known for chest-beating and screaming loudly as a show of dominance to keep away other males. So, yes they can be loud, but they can also be quiet and peaceful, kind of like humans, right?

Would they make a good pet?

Primates of any kind do not make good pets.

Especially the gorillas who are known for sharing almost 98% of our DNA structure. They are extremely intelligent and it is not possible for us to train them to be domesticated.

They have some instinctive habits that they cannot can not be trained out of, and these western lowland gorilla behavior are not habits anyone would like to have in their home.

They are also a lot of times stronger than humans with large and sharp canines and nails that can inflict serious injuries. They also need a lot of room to move around and climb trees.

This gorilla subspecies will also not be able to survive for long in places other than their natural habitat of the tropical forests of the Central African Republic.

They can also suffer serious psychological damage from being separated from their own kind, as they are social creatures and thrive on interactions with their own species.

Their conservation status is also listed as a Critically Endangered species on the IUCN red list, and it is illegal to keep them captive.

Still, illegal hunting has pushed gorilla populations to the verge of extinction, but thankfully some conservation groups have been working to raise awareness among the people around the natural gorilla habitat in order to protect the western lowland gorilla population.

So, taking their conservation status and other factors regarding their habitat and social behavior into consideration, this great ape species do not make good pets at all.

Did You Know...

Interestingly, humans share 98% of their DNA structure with these fascinating animals.

Even though they are large-bodied, this species is the smallest one among the gorillas.

How to identify a Western Lowland Gorilla?

These gorillas have a lighter brown shade of hair than other gorillas, which in the case of older males fades to gray, earning them the title of silverbacks. They also have a very prominent ridge along their brow which is not present in other gorilla species.

The females tend to be a little smaller than the males. Males are also known for beating their chests, King Kong style to demonstrate their dominance. These traits make it fairly easy to identify them.

Why is the western lowland gorilla important to the ecosystem?

Western lowland gorilla is God-gifted mammal, must say for two major reasons that support the culture of biodiversity in and out. First, they usually have a great tendency to hop from tree to tree, this promoting proper functioning of photosynthesis on the other hand, by letting the sun and trees to breathe in more.

Second, seed distribution have become a lot more easier due to them.

Different Types of Gorillas

There are four different types of gorillas found in the wild, namely, the mountain gorillas, the cross river gorillas the eastern lowland gorillas, and the western lowland gorillas. The main difference between in these species is their habitats, the color of their hair, and the size of their bodies.

The eastern lowland gorillas happen to be the biggest of all the primates while the western lowland gorilla is the smallest.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including Coquerel's Sifaka, or the emperor tamarin.

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

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Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_lowland_gorilla

https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/western-lowland-gorilla

https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/western-lowland-gorilla

https://a-z-animals.com/animals/western-lowland-gorilla/

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti Chaudhary picture

Smriti ChaudharyBachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti, a student data scientist, and coder, is pursuing her Bachelor of Technology at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering. She has achieved top rankings in the International English Olympiad, National Spelling Bee, and PSAT/SAT English Section. She is experienced in content creation and editing for various academic institutions.

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