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PRIMATE SPECIES: Gorilla



Click to see a larger version
Gorilla
Photo courtesy Philip Greenspun

Gorillas are the largest primates. A full-grown male can weigh as much as 600 lbs. and stand close to 6 ft. tall. Females are about 5 ft tall and weigh between 150 and 300 lb. Contrary to the image created by Hollywood movies like King Kong, gorillas are really very gentle most of the time. Of course, when threatened they can be very aggressive.

Gorillas live throughout Africa, in rain, mountain, and bamboo forests. They live in family groups of from 5 to 30 individuals, the number being generally under a dozen. The leader of the group is a mature male, called a 'silverback', named for the silvery hair down his back.

A gorillas diet consists of fruits, and the leaves, roots, and stems of many plants. Nearly half of a gorilla's day is spent eating. They live about 35 years in the wild.

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