The gorilla is a shy and gentle creature although it will defend itself and its family if attacked. Attacks are usually only forthcoming after a warning display designed to scare away an intruder before things become more physical. This display may involve the familiar chest-beating and also tearing up plants and shrubs and throwing them, beating the ground and stamping their feet.
The gorilla is a very sociable creature with a very strong sense of family and community. Individual members of the groups will also groom each other. Groups may contain up to 30 members with one older dominant male responsible for the safety of the group.
There are 3 subspecies of gorilla – The Western Lowland Gorilla, The Eastern Lowland Gorilla and the Mountain Gorilla.
All 3 species are very similar, though they possess slightly different physical characteristcs from adapting to their surroundings. For example, a mountain gorilla has longer fur, larger nostrils and shorter arms than its lowland relatives.
Adult male gorillas are known as silverbacks as the fur on their backs goes silver with age.
Gorillas walk on four limbs despite often being pictured standing or sitting upright. They can charge on two legs for short distances.
Female gorillas reach maturity at around 10 to 12 years old and typically give birth every 3-4 years.
Gorillas communicate with each other both using audible signals such as coughing, hooting and grunting and also by using facial expressions and body language.
Male gorillas reach maturity slightly later – normally between 11 and 13 years old.
Most of the gorillas in captivity are Western Lowland Gorillas.
Gorillas derive most of their water from the vegetation that they eat and very rarely drink water. When they do occasionally drink, they dip their hands in the water and suck the moisture from their fur.
Gorillas do not have a tail.
An wild adult male gorilla, or silverback, can stand up to 6 feet (1.8m) tall and weigh up to 500lbs (225kg).
Female gorillas way around half as much as male gorillas.
Western Lowland Gorillas live for around 30-35 years in the wild and up to 10 years longer in captivity.
Gorillas sleep in nests in trees or on the ground. They are nomadic animals and they build a new nest each day.
The mountain gorilla has longer arms than legs.
Gorillas have only two predators – leopards and of course humans.