A Day in the life of a Mountain Gorilla in Uganda & Rwanda – Gorilla lifestyle and habits
A Day in the life of a mountain gorilla – Mountain Gorillas live in groups/families consisting of about 25 to 35 members. Usually there is one leading male, accompanied by several females with their young ones. Everyone loves the Mountain Gorillas and they live in a landscape along the Western Albertine Rift, in one of Africa’s most bio-diversity regions. In this haven of tropical rainforest endemism the most celebrated wild mammal is the iconic Mountain Gorilla.
Spending half of the day eating, Mountain Gorillas spend another third of their day resting. In between they take gentle walks through the forest by babbling mountain brooks, stopping every now and again for a family picnic, foraging the finest raw, vegetarian whole foods and insects with the occasional small mammal treat.
When it comes at midday and whilst their youngsters play freely, the elders will casually snore away, post a morning of foraging where it could almost be a scene from a family Christmas Day. It is their social time too and the group interacts most during these rest periods. A great deal of time is spent teaching and playing with their nearest and dearest.
Playful Mountain Gorilla youngsters
Playing has a very important role in the life of young Mountain Gorillas and in their integration into the group. It helps the young to get familiar with every single animal and to be accepted as a part of the group. During playing they practise communication and learn many patterns of behaviours that are not instinctive. Mountain Gorillas get a full blissful eight hours of beauty sleep unless of course the weather is cold and overcast when the whole family has a lie in. They do this every day, not just Christmas.
Gorillas are not so much the master carpenters, but they do make their own beds daily (nests) leaving more time for contemplating his odd cousins from the lowlands.
The Silverback is the father and the protector
It is not all hedonism, they have three threats; the leopard, other Mountain Gorillas and human. A leopard will kill and eat any unprotected Mountain Gorillas. It is not personal; it is just that the leopard is hungry. The Silverback male has one sole job, and that is to protect the entire family, sacrificing himself if need be.
Man is not typically a direct threat in terms of poaching, as Mountain Gorillas are well protected by dedicated rangers, but Mountain Gorillas habitat is under pressure from communities for farming and charcoal production.
How do Mountain Gorillas ‘father’ their children?
Young animals always search out the group leader who usually is their father as well. They frequently stay close to him; they lean on him and include him in their games. For them a close relationship with their father can be vital. He protects the infants and his care increases their chances of survival if their mother dies or if she leaves the group. In such a case the silverback male is usually the only one who looks after them intensively. He even allows them to sleep in his nest.
How do Mountain Gorillas ‘mother’ their children?
Mountain Gorillas practice ‘attachment parenting’, the mother Gorilla holds the baby close throughout the day until they are three years old, at which point the baby can be independent and the mother can choose to have another baby. Unlike the fathers, mother Gorillas do little teaching, they are the caregivers while the fathers are the teachers.
Gorilla trekking changes lives
Gorilla tracking is often described as “life changing” and a once in a lifetime wildlife experience, seeing these gentle giants in their natural habitat is a unique experience which aids conservation through the income from Gorilla permits.
What do Mountain Gorillas do all day?
A day in the life of a mountain gorilla – This is the daily routine of the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. They forage in early morning; they rest in late morning and around midday, in the afternoon they forage again before resting at night. They leave their sleeping sites when the sun rises at around 6:00am, except when it is cold and overcast; then they often stay longer in their nests.
Mountain Gorillas spend about half of the day eating. Rest periods take up approximately a third of the day. They spend about 6.5% of their time moving from one location to another and they are engaged in social behaviour for 3.6% of their time. Social contacts occur mainly during rest periods. Therefore the midday rest period is very important for the social life of the group, as this is the time when the animals interact with their companions and when the young Gorillas can play without being interrupted.
Great Adventure Safaris specialize in organizing Mountain Gorilla tracking trips in Uganda and Rwanda and can help get you in the right place at the right time to maximise the enjoyment and diversity of wildlife. All you need to do is contact us through email, call or whatsapp us to spend an awe-inspiring hour whilst the Mountain Gorillas go about their daily lives.