The mountain gorillas are found at high altitudes in montane forests as well as bamboo forests. Most people want to track mountain gorillas and there’s much debate as to which country offers the best mountain gorilla safari. Mountain gorillas only live in the dense vegetation of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest & Mgahinga National Park and along the dormant volcanic Virunga mountain range that stretches across Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some primatologists’ believe that Bwindi gorillas may be a separate subspecies.
What Mountain Gorillas Eat?
Their favorite food appears to be bamboo, but mountain gorillas also eat many other types of plants. Due to their habitat, fruit is rare and makes up a very small portion of their diet. These gorillas also hunt for ants, grubs and snails. They can eat all day long, Mountain gorillas spend about a quarter of their day eating.
Live in families or Gorilla Groups
Mountain gorillas live in different families with each gorilla belonging to a certain family is highly attached to that family. It is very interesting that even if the two or three families meet and mix, every gorilla goes back to her/his own family at the time of departure. A dominant silver back leads a family and the entire family consists of about 10-30 members. All year round, only 8 People are allowed to visit a single gorilla family.
There is an overlap in group territories and the silver back defends his group rather than his territory. Both males and females in the group care for their infants, hugging, carrying and playing with them. When they get older, most males and around 60% of females then leave their birth group to join another troop. This helps prevent inbreeding.
The reproduction in mountain gorillas is quite slow compared to other wild animals. The female mountain gorillas give their first birth at 10 years and the gestation period is 8.5 months after which one baby gorilla is born. It is not very common mountain gorillas giving birth to twins. Anew born baby gorilla is very tiny weighing approximately 1.8kgs but keeps on growing to measure about 180kgs when it becomes mature.
How to differentiate mountain gorillas female and male?
When gorillas are young (up to about 8 years), it is difficult to tell males and females apart as they are roughly the same size. The one guaranteed way to determine sex in a younger individual is to look at their genitals. However, at maturity, gorillas are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females have different physical characteristics making them easily identifiable. Adult male gorillas, or silverbacks, will be close to twice the size of the females, have silver hair on their back, and have large bumps on the top of their heads called sagittal crests.
When is the best time to go for mountain gorilla trekking in Africa?
Mountain Gorilla trekking or safari is a year-round activity in Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC. Peak season is July and August, with “long rains” from March to May and “short rains” in November.
Dry season from June to September, mid-December to early February, Rain Season from March to May and from August to November
In conclusion therefore, mountain gorillas are very interesting animals to interact with. Each member in the family plays a different role, which resemble a real human family.