How Long Do Gorillas Live? Find Out The Lifespan Of This Strong Mammal | Kidadl


How Long Do Gorillas Live? Find Out The Lifespan Of This Strong Mammal

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After chimpanzees and baboons, gorillas are the closest relatives to human beings, with a 98.3% DNA match which is why they are often referred to as human cousins.

There are two different species of gorillas in the world, the eastern gorilla and the western gorilla and interestingly, these two species are found only in Central Africa. There are subspecies of both these types of gorillas with the eastern gorilla being divided into the eastern lowland gorilla and mountain gorilla, and the western gorilla being divided into the western lowland gorilla and Cross River gorilla.

Gorilla habitats are the primary factor behind the lifespan of gorillas, and this is the mean reason why wild gorillas tend to live a shorter life than captive gorillas. Gorillas are some of the most intelligent animals as they even maintain systems of family hierarchy unlike many other animals. Gorillas are mostly found in the African countries of Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and Equatorial Guinea. Additionally, nowadays, gorillas can be found all over the world in zoos. As an interesting fact about western lowland gorillas, they have unique fingerprints, just like us human beings, but at the same time, they have one of a kind nose print too which can be used as an identification mark.

If you enjoyed reading this article, why not also find out how long deer live for and how long elephants live for?

How long do silverback gorillas live?

The term silverback gorilla is used to refer to a male mountain gorilla that has developed into an adult and leads a troop of gorillas. Usually the troop size is between 5-30 depending on the conditions. The responsibility of a silverback gorilla includes leading the troop regarding where to migrate to, where to forage for food, and eventually where to rest. The male mountain gorilla who leads the troop has been given the term 'silverback gorilla' due to the silver saddles across its hips and back.

The lifespan of a silverback gorilla too depends on where it lives, if it is a mountain gorilla living in the wild then it has an average life expectancy of 35-40 years. On the other hand, if we consider a male mountain gorilla that lives in captivity, probably in a zoo, then it has an average life expectancy of around 50 years, considerably more than the wild ones due to several factors that reduce the life expectancy of those living in the wild. Silverback gorillas that live in captivity typically live to about the age of 52 years on average. These male mountain gorillas have enormous body strength. In the past, there have been instances where old mountain gorillas have bent iron bars to escape. You can understand just how strong a gorilla is when you realize that its bite force is double the bite force of a lion! These male gorillas that lead the group are referred to as silverback gorillas and are also responsible for solving any disputes between troop members.

How long do gorillas live in captivity?

Not only gorillas, but many other animal species that live in captivity, have a higher average lifespan than their average life expectancy when living in the wild. Whether it is mountain gorillas or western lowland gorillas, all gorilla species aren't generally aggressive. They do not have a lot of enemies in the wild but they fall prey to health diseases such as Ebola and scabies which significantly reduce their lifespan.

When a wild gorilla is kept in captivity in a zoo or in a national park, its health is taken care of properly. Health officials ensure that a gorilla's lifespan is increased by providing it with adequate nutrition and at the same time protecting it from any illness or diseases which may eventually prove to be life threatening. Collectively, all these efforts increase gorillas' lifespan in captivity. Conservation efforts have significantly improved ever since some gorilla species have become Critically Endangered due to human interference, the leading cause being habitat destruction. The population of Cross River gorilla is as low as 300. The Cross River gorilla is usually found in the forests of Nigeria and Cameroon and even though these gorillas are quite difficult to spot due to the density of the forests, the officials believe their population is now in the Critically Endangered zone. On the contrary the western lowland gorillas is believed to be the most populous species of all with an approximate count of 100,000-200,000. In total of the primary two species, eastern gorillas (Gorilla beringei) and western gorillas, it is the latter which has a higher population.

Silverback Gorilla.

How old is the oldest gorilla?

A gorilla can live for 35-40 years on average in the wild. However, when this animal is kept in captivity in a national park or a zoo, this data rises to around 50-52 year mark on average. Even then there are times when a baby gorilla originally born in the wild and then nurtured in a protected environment lives on for more than 60 years. While the other gorillas born around the same timeline die earlier due to illness or death due to aging, the lucky ones live on.

The longest living gorilla ever recorded on Earth is currently alive at an age of 64 years. It is a western lowland gorilla named Fatou who is currently living at Berlin Zoo. This female lowland gorilla was born in 1957 in the African jungles, from there she was brought to France in 1959 by an anonymous sailor from where she was taken to Berlin Zoo and she has been living their ever since. The female western lowland gorilla has a daughter, multiple grandchildren, and great grandchildren who comprise her group members. This western lowland gorilla has defied all previous beliefs of how long a gorilla can live for. As an interesting fact about the aging of gorillas, when a mountain gorilla reaches an age of around 35, it shows distinct signs of age in the form of arthritis which causes further damage in the hands, bones, and feet of a gorilla.

Did You Know...

Gorillas are undoubtedly one of the most interesting animals in the world, and here are some fascinating facts about these cousins of ours.

Unlike many animal species, gorillas tend to live in family groups on a small area of land. Several such groups live in close proximity, and most importantly, live peacefully with no major arguments.

A gorilla's large body structure might frighten you but these are peace loving animals and interestingly mostly herbivorous but eat small termites and ants as well.

In the wild, they rarely attack humans. However, like other wild animals, they can get aggressive when provoked or feel threatened.

A gorilla's diet largely consists of leaves, stems and certain types of fruits. The western lowland species has a diet which is largely dominated by fruits.

Did you know female gorillas can start giving birth only after they are 10 years old and unlike humans, they can bear young ones only at an interval of around four years?

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked finding out how long do gorillas live then why not take a look at how long do eagles live, or silverback gorilla facts.

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