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5TF: Our Research Interns Answer YOUR Questions—Part 3

Question 1

What do gorillas eat?

Gorillas are herbivores, so they have a plant-based diet. You will mainly see gorillas eat young leaves, fruit, bamboo shoots, roots and bark!

Bonus Question: How much do gorillas eat?

Adult gorillas typically eat about 40 pounds (18 kg) of food in one day!

Question 2

Are gorillas polygamous?

Yes! Gorillas are polygamous, meaning they have more than one mate. The dominant silverback of the group will attempt to breed with all of the adult females in the group. Furthermore, adult females are seen to transfer groups, often multiple times in their life, and will mate with silverbacks in all of the groups they join.

Question 3

Are baby gorillas born with teeth?

Infant gorillas are not born with teeth. Like all mammals, newborn gorillas feed by drinking their mother’s milk, so they don’t need their teeth right away. As infants begin to eat solid foods, their baby teeth, or deciduous teeth, will grow in. Eventually they’ll lose their baby teeth and grow adult teeth! 

Bonus Question: How many teeth do gorillas have?

Gorillas have 32 teeth, just like humans!

Question 4

How do gorillas get around?

Gorillas use a form of quadrupedal locomotion called knuckle-walking. This means they travel with all four limbs on the ground and they put their weight on their knuckles instead of on their palms. However, you may see a gorilla walk bipedally, or on two legs, for a short distance!

Question 5

How are humans related to gorillas?

Millions of years ago, humans and gorillas shared a common ancestor. Today, we consider gorillas to be one of our closest cousins and we even have about 98% of our DNA in common. Just looking at gorillas, you can see the similarities of our physical features! We even share some behavioral similarities, including using gestures to communicate!