What Are Some Mountain Gorilla Facts?

mountain-gorilla Credit: James Hager / robertharding/Robert Harding World Imagery/Getty Images

Mountain gorillas are similar to other gorillas, but they have longer fur, larger jaws and teeth, a smaller nose, and shorter arms. Gorillas are the largest primates, but their sizes differ greatly between males and females, with males being much larger. They eat multiple parts of plants, from the leaves to the stems and roots of plants, along with small amounts of bark, wood, invertebrates, fruit, flowers and gorilla dung.

Mountain gorillas are social, living in groups of a single dominant male and several females. They are not territorial, but encounters between groups can be violent, as can encounters with lone males. Males born to the group leave at around age 11 to live solitary lives until they are joined by females, which leave their family groups at around age 8. The females most often join a solitary male rather than joining an established group where they would be lower in rank.

Mountain gorillas' habitat is limited to the Virunga volcanic mountain range on the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda in Africa. They are highly endangered, threatened by both habitat destruction and heavy poaching. Humans are the only major predators of these large and powerful animals.