What sound do mountain Gorillas Make? – How do Gorillas communicate? – What a Gorilla sounds like? -Mountain Gorilla trekking safaris in Africa.
What sound do mountain Gorillas Make? – Gorillas have many forms of communication, including sounds that are known or used within a specific group. These are used for the same reasons we as humans make sounds. Gorillas communicate about food, make noises related to mating, give out discipline and show support, or express their problems, some sounds express happiness, playfulness, and contentment whereas others show protectiveness, fear, or aggression. Many of these sounds can’t be distinguished because some of them are different according to groups. There isn’t a single gorilla language but many different languages and sounds, making it hard to ever know all the sounds that a gorilla makes.
There are four main subspecies (types) of gorillas that fall under the two species of gorillas.
These can be found in the forests, and also mountains as suggested by their name, Mountain gorillas.
- Western lowland gorilla
- Cross river gorilla
- Mountain gorilla
- Eastern lowland gorilla
Silverbacks are not a type of species of gorilla, the term silverback refers to older male gorillas that have begun to develop grayish-white hair on their shoulders and back.
One can sometimes identify the sex and age of a gorilla depending on the sound made.
Gorillas usually don’t have a mating call. Mating usually consists of a female of the family going to the dominant silverback. The female then will stare down at the male until he yields and mating occurs. Sometimes the dominant silverback may initiate mating by touching the female or by grunting, and may even slap and charge the female if she’s unwilling.
Researchers have been able to identify 20-25 distinct sounds that gorillas make and a lot of these sounds are still yet to be fully understood. With time we are learning to speak gorilla.
The following are some of the gorilla sounds that have been well identified and their meaning interpreted by researchers.
Gorilla Roar, Scream, Hooting
A gorilla roar, scream, or hoot is an aggressive call, done during tense situations. A frightening display of power, usually accompanied by a charge. Gorillas bare their teeth and make a very loud wah sound, scaring others away. Usually, gorillas that make this sound are the silverbacks.
When you hear a gorilla make this sound, it may be doing so because it feels threatened. That may be because of another silverback or younger male trying to show dominance, or something else entirely. It’s a sound meant to scare away what the gorilla considers a danger. This sound is usually accompanied by the beating of the gorilla’s chest.
This gorilla sound is sometimes preceded by absolute silence. The gorilla may stop what it’s doing, and look towards the source of what it may consider a danger while waiting for the perfect time to jump out with its fearsome roar.
Bear in mind that gorillas don’t use a chest beat to scare off intruders as many suggest, a scream or roar is the sound made by gorillas when they are angry.
Famous from the movies, the chest beat is what almost everybody on a gorilla trek wants to experience. Note that they make this sound using open hands, not clenched fists as the movies suggest.
It’s essentially a display of strength and dominance over another, directed towards both males and females in the group. Although it seems like a show of aggression, a chest beat is not a battle cry or the start of a fight.
Silence is very perceptible among primates. For gorillas, it’s not a comfortable silence.
When they sense danger they will stop and fall silent, using gestures to communicate before deciding what to do next. Sudden silence often means, “Watch out, something is happening.”
This gorilla sound is also known as Belch Vocalization or a contact call. It’s described as “a deep prolonged rumble”, and “‘throat-clearing sound’”. The silverbacks of a band of gorillas usually start this sound. The rest of the band follow after.
This sound is considered part of gorilla behavior. It’s used to convey contentment between individuals, or non-aggression. The belch is a non-aggressive and non-threatening sound that means they’re okay with visitors in their area and accept their presence.
This sound can also be used by visitors, gorilla or otherwise, to show they’re not a threat to the group. Guides may imitate this call when out on gorilla treks for safety when a group of tourists approaches the family.
This gorilla sound is characterized by a hoarse laughing sound. This sound is usually made by younger gorillas, though all may make this sound.
This gorilla sound is made as an expression of playfulness and joy. It can also be made as an invitation to play.
Ha ha ha chuckle. Yes, gorillas laugh and chuckle just like humans. This playful sound is most commonly made by the younger members of a troop. The gorilla chuckle is a little more complex, as it is both a laugh and an invitation for another to join them.
This gorilla sound is described as a grunting sound, reminiscent of the sound a pig makes. Thus, this sound is sometimes known as “pig grunts”. All gorillas will make this sound.
This is a gorilla sound to tell others to back off, stop what they’re doing, or move away. A gorilla may make this sound when it wants to eat a particular plant, and other moves in to take it.
Uh uh uh. A sound similar to what you’ve probably heard in humans before, this gorilla sound translates as back off. They would use it to say something like “Hey, back off, I’m going to eat that plant.”
What sound do mountain Gorillas Make? – Singing
This gorilla sound is described as a high-pitched sound, like a dog whining. All gorillas make this sound, especially when they’re eating. Gorillas sing when they are happy and these reassuring noises tell everyone else that they are content.
This sound is another sound of contentment, which can extend from the belch vocalization. It’s usually heard, as previously mentioned, while a gorilla is eating.
What sound do mountain Gorillas Make – Whining and Crying
This gorilla sound is described as very similar to the cries of human babies. It can sometimes build up into screams and shrieks, like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum. This gorilla sound can be heard from gorilla infants.
This sound usually means when a gorilla infant is in some form of distress. This would include being in an uncomfortable position, left behind by the band, separated from its mother, or needing help.