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Location and Habitat

Western lowland gorillas are located in the forests, swamps and tropical rainforests of west-central Africa. As their names suggest, western lowland gorillas live at lower altitudes, while their close relatives, mountain gorillas, live at higher altitudes in the mountains. Unfortunately the natural range for these gorillas is small and becoming smaller due to destruction of the habitats in which they live.


Western lowland gorillas eat fruits, shoots, leaves, bark and other vegetation. They will also eat termites and other types of insects.

Size and Description

Male western lowland gorillas can weigh between 350 and 450 pounds as adults. They can grow to be 5.5 to 6 feet in height. Females are usually much smaller than males, and weigh about half as much as males. Females grow to be 4 to 4.5 feet in height. Western lowland gorillas, like all gorillas, are muscular.

Western lowland gorillas are covered in black hair over most of their bodies. The tops of their heads are covered in brownish- red hair. As adult males become mature, they will grow silver hair on their backs. This is where the name "silverback" is derived from. Silverbacks are adult male gorillas, and younger males are called blackbacks.

Faces, ears, fingers and palms of gorillas have little to no hair. They have large nostrils on their noses, and large teeth in their mouth.


Gorillas walk on their feet and on the knuckles of their fists. They do not walk on two legs like humans, but they will sometimes stand on two legs to assert themselves or to reach for things. Occasionally, they may swing from trees or climb from tree to tree to travel, but generally they remain on the ground. Like humans, gorillas have opposable thumbs which means they can grasp items firmly in their hands.


Female western lowland gorillas' gestation or preganancy periods are very similar to those of humans, and last approximately 8 - 9 months. They will give often give birth to one infant, but sometimes two.

Other Facts

Western lowland gorillas are becoming increasingly endangered. One of the main reasons for the loss of these animals is due to habitat destruction for logging. Another reason is that gorillas are illegally poached for meat.

Gorillas will sometimes show aggression in order to protect and defend a band of gorillas. These shows may include beating their chests with their fists.

Kong is a giant gorilla that rampages New York City in the 1933 film "King Kong".

"Gorillas in the Mist" is a 1988 movie based on a true story about Dian Fossey, a woman who gave up interactions with humans in order to try and protect gorillas from poaching and habitat loss.

Susan Pettitt | Dreamstime.com
    Kingdom: Phylum: Class: Order: Family: Genus: Species: Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Hominidae Gorilla gorilla
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