What Do Mountain Gorillas Eat?
The question of what mountain gorillas eat is dependent on the nature of their habitat and the season of the year. Essentially, mountain gorillas eat parts of green plants unlike their counter parts the lowland gorillas which prefer a lot of fruits. It should be noted that during the dry season of the year, there are few juicy fruits which cause the gorillas to eat a lot of seeds and tree husks – something always seen while on gorilla safaris in Uganda or in Rwanda.
Due to the fact that fruits grow on trees, gorillas of all age range climbs trees in search for these fruits. It should also be noted that, although western gorillas like fruits more than leaves pith, stems and shoots, they can’t surpass the rate of fruit consumption exhibited among their colleagues – the chimpanzees and orangutans. The Chimpanzees and the Mountain gorillas can be seen on your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda or Rwanda.
The mountain gorillas that lives the Virunga Volcanoes shared by Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo and the ancient forest of Bwindi National Park in Uganda draw their food from around 38 varying species of plants majorly thistles, nettles, celery and gallium. This is compared to the western gorillas which draw their food from over 200 species of plants majorly from arrowroot and ginger families.
It should be further be noted that the male adult silverback gorilla is considered to be eating about 30kg of plants every day while an adult female can eat about 18kg. Gorillas process these amounts of food with the help of their chewing muscles that are quite strong and their teeth that are much like human teeth, there is also a long pointed canines that are only possessed by mature male gorillas which are not used for feeding but rather for battling other competing gorillas.
Other than plant species, mountain gorillas also take in some soil though irregularly which is thought to be neutralizing the poisonous substances contained in their food and that the soil contains some minerals that are absent in their plant food. Moreover, gorillas can’t kill big animals for food but instead eat small animals mostly insects however it forms like 0.1% of their food intake.