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Facts about a Silverback Gorilla | Rwanda Gorilla Tours 2024

A matured male gorilla is called a silverback gorilla because of the silver patch of hair it has on its back that comes with aging. A gorilla gets a silverback  usually when it’s about 12 to 14 years of age. Its body gets large and more strongly built with aging .

Facts about a Silverback Gorilla Rwanda Gorilla Tours 2024

Generally, a well matured silverback can weigh about 430 pounds (195 kg) and very strong more than other gorillas lifting about 800 kilograms of dead weight. A dominant silverback gorilla is the leader of a gorilla group.

There can be more than 1 silverback in a gorilla group for example like 3 and they are ranked according to numbers with number 1 being the dominant, the leader.

An average gorilla group can range from about 10 to 30 individual gorillas. A silver back, the head, its role is to provide it protection, make final decisions, controls it, decides on where to feed from, decides on who should stay or leave  the group.

It is responsible for mating with females in that group, it decides on where they should nest ,defends it against intruders, among others.

A matured silverback in the group  will either fight for the throne or leave the group peacefully to go and make its own. Luckily it might be followed by about 2to 3 females which is a good number to start a gorilla group.

Through fights with other groups it’s gets in its way, it slowly adds up to its group  by stealing females from other groups. Other gorillas can freely decide to join the group and exit it any time they feel it is not peaceful.

A gorilla group will continue to grow when females start breeding.  But a female gorilla reproduces once in every 4 to 6 years, gestates for about 8to 9 months and usually produces one infant, which slowly adds Up-to a group unless if it has a lot of females.

The behavior of a gorilla group usually depends on its head, if the silverback is a calm and peaceful leader, peace will always be reflected in that group and vice verse.

When the head of the group dies, a group is most likely to get scattered with the females looking for protective males and hence join other groups. Or  another silver back from that particular group can take over the throne peacefully  or through challenges though its very rare.

How does a  silverback father its children

Baby gorillas love being very close to their fathers  they will always look out for him to be included in their games. They can be observed very close to him most of the time. Playing on his body, sitting on his back, Leaning against him, among others.

How does a  silverback father its children

Just like humans, silverback are always there for their infants, most especially when the mom dies maybe because of a disease or poaching, they will always protect, defend and look out for their kids. This increases their chances of survival in the wild as unprotected infants are usually eaten by wild animals like leopards.

9 interesting Facts about silverback gorilla of Rwanda

A well matured and healthy silverback gorilla can weigh between 300 to 480 pounds((135 to 215 kilograms) and can stand up to a height of 5.5 to 6 feet / 1.7 to 1.8 meters tall when upright.

Silverback starts growing a patch of silver hair on their backs around 12 years of age.

They are very strong compared to the black-backs and can lift a weight which is very much heavier than their body weight.

They lead the groups of gorillas and each group on average can range from 10 to 30 individual gorillas  inclusive of the infants.

A dominant silverback is responsible for protection, making final decisions, fights intruders, mediates conflicts, mating with females, discovering new food sources of the group, among others.

They communicate with different vocalizations, facial expressions and body languages. They roar, hoot and grunt while in their habits with each vocalization holding a different message.

They are herbivores animal species feeding mainly on fruits, leaves, stems, seeds and occasionally on insects.

A silverback gorilla can live up to around 35to 40 years and 50+ years in captivity.

Females usually give birth to one offspring every after 4 to 6 years and the infants are very much cared for by the silverback.

Its major threat includes poaching, habitat destruction and human diseases such as Ebola.



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