What to Know About the Mountain Gorilla’s Special Diet
We have all seen gorillas. They are big, strong, and live in the lush jungles of Africa. However, how do they get so big and strong? Is there a secret in their diet that gives their body the building material needed to create such strength? It may surprise you to find out that their diet consists mainly of just plants.
Did that fact wow you? If so, you are in the right place! In this article, we will talk more about the gorilla’s diet, more specifically the mountain gorilla:
The Diet of a Mountain Gorilla
Their diet is primarily plant-based, with shoots, leaves, and stems make up over 80 percent of their diet. The rest are partly flowers, edible roots, and even fruits. However, some gorillas may eat insects.
Regardless, what the gorillas eat will generally depend on where they live. For instance, those living in high altitudes will rely on plants, and those living on lower altitudes can eat more fruits, with occasional snails, ants, and other tiny creatures.
The Amount Mountain Gorillas Eat a Day
Adult male gorillas tend to eat over 60 pounds of plants per day, while their female counterparts eats just above half that amount. As you can imagine, this is a ton of chewing, especially since plants in their raw form are not the easiest thing to chew, chewing these things can be incredibly tiresome.
Fortunately for the gorillas, their teeth and jaw muscles are tough. Their muscles grow to be incredibly strong. In fact, their teeth are much like ours, built to grind down food to a paste. However, their canine teeth are not meant for food. Instead, it is for fighting other gorillas.
The Food of an Infant and Young Mountain Gorillas
If you imagined the younger gorillas to be drinking milk and eating soft foods much as human babies do, you would be right. Infant gorillas rely on their mother’s milk to sustain their growth. Young gorillas still do feed on their mother’s milk but have the added benefit of being able to eat things like snails and ants in tiny quantities for extra protein. Only at about three and a half years old do they become much more accustomed to their normal adult diet of plants and small creatures.
The Methods by Which Mountain Gorillas Get Their Food
Gorillas are strong, and they use their strength to break up vegetation to access parts of the plants they want to eat. For instance, if they want to eat the roots, they have to dig them out or rip them out of the ground for a meal. While this sounds like they leave wherever they were eating absolutely decimated, the reality is different. They carefully select the plants they eat and allow plants to regrow by rotating from one area to another.
Did any of the facts about gorillas excite you about your trip to Africa? There are plenty of places you can trek to observe these gentle giants. We promise that you will be amazed at how they select the plants they want to eat and carefully break them down. That being said, do take your time to research the trekking tours you want to be a part of, and make sure they include gorillas as part of the experience!
Bushman Safaris offers the best and affordable Uganda safari trips to bring adventurers close to the gorillas. If you are looking for gorilla tours in Africa, check out our tour packages!