More on  Mountain Gorillas
The jungle home of the Mountain GorillaThe mountain gorilla female's pregnancy lasts for about 258 days. Babies are born with their eyes closed and helpless. They are tiny, weighing only about 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms) at birth. They nurse from their mothers and don't do much but drink milk, stay warm and sleep for the first while. The mother carries her baby at all times and holds it carefully to her chest. At three or four months old, the baby can crawl a little, and its mother will allow it to explore a bit. She begins to carry it piggyback, with the baby clutching her long hair. The baby develops quickly from that point on and seeks out playmates. The baby gorilla is weaned at about two years of age but sleeps in its mother's nest until it is about three years old.



Was THAT a Mountain Gorilla?

Mountain gorillA Silverbackas leave signs of their presence. Some of these include:

  • nests

  • flattened plants

  • food remains

  • droppings

  • knuckle prints

Even if Mountain Gorillas can't be seen, they can often be heard! They call to each other and make loud hooting sounds, especially when they are warning each other of danger.

The group leader is the "silverback" adult male. He decides where and when to travel, rest, eat and sleep. 
Gorillas can catch diseases from humans. Some of these diseases are malaria, pneumonia and hookworm.
Mountain gorillas are an endangered species. There may be as few as 600 of them left in the world.
Habitat: jungle or forests of east central Africa
Home range: 4 square miles (10 sq. km). Range may overlap with those of different groups. Gorillas do not defend their territory but share it happily.
Food: bamboo shoots, wild celery, nettles, bark, stems and roots, some berries and other fruit and sometimes ants' eggs.
Mating: female mates every 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 years.
Gestation: 258 days
Young: birth weight: 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms), eyes closed and helpless
Number of young: usually one.
Young independent: weaned at two years old and leaves mother at about three years of age.


 Mountain Gorilla Quiz

A) Mountain gorillas live:

1.  In Norway.

2.  In the Arctic.

3.  Near warm, sandy beaches.

4.  In the Virunga Mountains

B) The mountain gorilla's habitat is:

1.  Pond.

2.  Desert.

3.  Tropical forest, or jungle.

4.  Prairie grasslands.


C) Mountain gorillas are:

1.  Amphibian.

2.  Primate.

3.  Arachnid.

4.  Avian.


D) Gorillas close relatives include:

1.  Humans.

2.  Chickens.

3.  Hyenas.

4.  Bears.


E) Gorillas like to eat:

1.  Cheese.

2.  Fish.

3.  Plants, roots, berries and fruit.

4.  French fries, gravy and a coke.


F) When gorillas "display," they:

1.  Show off their new clothes.

2.  Have a temper tantrum.

3.  Dance the Macarena.

4.  Hoot, thump on the ground and beat their chests.


G) Adult male gorillas are called:

1.   Sir.

2.   Silverbacks.

3.   Adult male gorillas.

4.  Ralph.



How did you do?  Stand on your
head to find out!


Be a gorilla! Have the kids in your class take turns being a gorilla, and later you can vote for who was the best gorilla. That person can be the silverback for the rest of the day! Can you remember all the things a gorilla does when it displays? There are nine actions. You will have to PRETEND to:

-pretend to eat
-rise up on two legs
-throw plants (pretend!)
-beat chest
-kick legs
-run around
-hit or tear out plants (pretend!)
-thump on the ground!

Ahem... now clean up the mess so your teacher won't be angry at Camp Cottontail!

Mountain gorillas are an endangered species. They are in danger of disappearing from our world because of human activities and war. If you'd like to find out more about mountain gorillas, go to:

If you'd like to read a good book about Mountain Gorillas, try "The Mountain Gorilla", by Melissa Kim and Ann Strugnell. We give it five paws up.

The kids at Hazelridge Elementary School in Manitoba, Canada studied endangered species recently. Two IWRC members gave them a presentation on the Mountain Gorilla. Find out what they learned, what they wrote and what they drew. Visit Kidspeak.

For more Camp Cottontail information on the Mountain Gorilla and other endangered species, go to our Endangered Species link. See if there's something you can do to change things for this magnificent animal.



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