Most travelers have been wondering what gorillas feed on since they are the close relatives to human beings sharing 98% of human genes. Mountain gorillas are herbivorous animals feeding on vegetation and it’s the reason why they are situated in the tropical rain forests of Africa in the Virunga conservation area. The area is shared across the borders of Uganda in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park, Rwanda in the volcanoes national park and democratic republic of Congo in the virunga national park. There are approximately 880 mountain gorillas in the whole world and all of them are found in the tropical rain forests of Africa.
Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) mostly feed on about 142 different plant species and only 3 fruit species, fruits are hardly available due to the high altitude that the mountain gorillas live in. 86% of the mountain gorilla diet is composed of leaves, shoot and leaves, 7% is roots, 3% is flowers, 2% is frits and 2% entails ants, snails and grubs. Mountain gorillas consume much vegetation in that a male gorilla can eat about 20kgs of vegetation per day due to the low nutritional quality in vegetation. The advantage that they have is that these vegetation types are always available all year round.
The high quantity of water in the vegetation eaten by the mountain gorillas make it rare for the endangered species to take water, also the morning dew covering the vegetation in the morning hours is enough for the gorillas not to take water.
Mountain gorillas are so selective forages concerning the foods and parts of the plant that they eat. A mountain gorilla can just pick only leaves, pith, roots or the fruits of a certain plant and leave out the other parts. These apes use heir agile lips and hands to manipulate the vegetation for the particular portion they want to consume. They can also use their incredible strength to break a part of vegetation; this is commonly done by adults who can shred part of the whole tree in order to get to the interior tender pith.
Mountain gorilla feeding habits are preservative for the vegetation types they fed on, they crop and collect the vegetation, fruits and fruits in a manner that allows for quick replenishment to take place and therefore do not exploit an area. They have back and finger hairs which they also use to absorb water before sucking it during their travel through the deep forests in which they live and feed from.
Mountain gorilla’s feeds are subject to their habitats and the time of the year, they heavily feed on green plant parts which are in contrast of the low land gorillas that enjoy plenty of fruit though during dry spells the fruits tend to plummet forcing these species to enjoy the plenty of seeds and tree barks. Low land gorillas adapt to climbing in order to harvest fruits but it should be noted that they cannot consume plenty of fruit as orangutans and Chimpanzees do as they can be witnessed while trekking the mountain gorillas.
Mountain gorilla teeth are much like human teeth, except for the very long, pointed canines of adult gorilla males, the males do not use those teeth for feeding but for fighting against competing males.
Along side plants, mountain gorillas ingest soil occasionally due to the fact that the soil contains minerals that are missing in their plants, or the minerals neutralize poisonous substances in their food. Mountain gorillas feed on the food that their habitats provide and they do not hunt other animals except small insect that are sometimes parasiting on plant leaves and shoots.
In conclusion therefore, mountain gorillas are herbivorous animals and their feeding habits are so much interesting to the traveler’s since they behave like real human beings. It’s a great experience that every traveler must enjoy while trekking the gorillas.