Colossus(front) and Mara(back) at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The gorilla is the largest living primate. A western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) must spend most of its day eating plants to maintain its large size. Despite its massive size and ferocious reputation, the gorilla is actually a peaceful and social animal. Gorillas and humans are close relatives, and share many things in common.

They are very intelligent, have emotions and personalities, and live in family groups. A troop of up to 20 gorillas is led and defended by a dominant male called a silverback. A male gorilla has the strength of up to eight men. Chest-beating is one way a gorilla shows that it’s excited. Gorillas and humans have the same number of hairs on their bodies.


  • Height: 5 to 6 ftWeight: Male - Up to 400 lbs, Female - Up to 200 lbs
  • Lifespan: Up to 35 yrs in the wild
  • Habitat: Tropical forest
  • Diet: Fruits, leaves, and small invertebrates
  • Risk Status: Species at Risk (IUCN—Endangered)
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