What You need to know about mountain gorillas.
The mountain gorilla lives in all these harsh conditions of the impenetrable forest of bwindi and the volcanic mountains of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. This kind of environment gives them special characteristics that enable them survive there. The following are some of the characters of these endangered creatures;
With such a cold habitat, the mountain gorilla has special adaptations to help it survive in its environment. the mountain gorilla has longer fur than its other relatives. Its long, black fur and large mass help keep it warm in below freezing temperatures in the mountains. These animals are quite large, sometimes weighing up to 440 pounds and standing up to six feet tall.
Males tend to grow a patch of silver fur on their back giving them the nickname, ‘silverbacks.’ This feature, as well as their long teeth and jaws, and shorter arms distinguish them from other gorilla species.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the home for these endangered creatures in Uganda. Gorillas build nests to sleep in and the presence of sufficient nesting material determines the location in which they bed. Nest construction varies, but usually consists of bent/broken vines and branches formed around and underneath each individual. Infants sleep in their mother’s nest until they are about 3 years of age. However, some offspring as young as 8 months’ practice nest building. Nests function to keep the gorillas off the cold ground, prevent them slipping down a slope, or support them in a tree during the night. Researchers can identify the size, age, activity and make-up of a gorilla troop based on their nests.
Gorillas most often walk quadrupedal (four-footed) with limited bipedal (two-footed) movements. Gorillas and chimpanzees have a distinctive walk called knuckle-walking. The walk derived its name because they walk on their knuckles, not on their palms.
Life in the high altitude can be harsh, especially in the volcanic areas of Rwanda that the mountain gorilla calls home. Few plants can tolerate the low oxygen and acidic soil. Like other gorillas, the mountain gorilla enjoys fresh fruit, but only a few species grow here, such as passion fruit and banana. Thus, fruit only makes up about 2% of its diet.
Gorillas usually travel only about 0.5 to 1 km (0.3 to 0.6 mi.) per day when there is ample food supply, since they have a slow pace and relatively large body size which makes it difficult to travel extensively. The mountain gorilla is omnivorous, meaning it eats animals and plants. Except for fruit, its diet is quite different from human vegetarians. Over 80% of their diet is made of leaves, shoots, and stems which can come from bamboo or other plants. They also aren’t opposed to some protein either. Mountain gorillas will break open bamboo stocks or trees to find insects like ants, grubs and snails.
Mountain gorillas are interestingly bright creatures with high intelligence and other unique characters most of which are noticeable during gorilla tracking and gorilla habituation safaris.