What Do Silverback Gorillas Eat?

silverback-gorillas-eat Credit: Jeremy Thompson/CC-BY 2.0

Silverback gorillas eat plants and parts of plants including the berries, bark, shoots and leaves. They also eat roots, wild celery and the inner pulp of trees. They prefer plants that are full of juice and have also been known to eat ants and termites.

Unlike chimpanzees, who make tools out of twigs to "fish" for termites, gorillas simply tear open the termite nests to have access to the insects within.

Though they're most often found on the ground, gorillas will climb trees to find food. They usually eat during the morning and afternoon and rest or travel the rest of the time. Because the vegetation in their natural habitat is abundant, gorilla troops usually don't need to travel far to find food. Their droppings also help new plants to grow, so gorillas are partially responsible for growing the food they eat.

Gorilla troops are led by a silverback male, who gets his name from the silver fur on his back. The troop also contains younger males, females and juveniles. The silverback is the one who leads the group to their foraging area and to the sites where they will sleep for the night. He is usually a male aged 12 years old or older.