Ecology of the Gorilla

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Ecology of the Gorilla

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Gorillas are vegetarians. In the Virungas, they eat at least 58 different food plants mostly leaves, stems and the bark. Compared to Virunga, Bwindi has many more plant species.
The gorillas eat 60 different plants and fruits (gorilla safari).
On rare occasions, they eat insects, nails, soils and dead plants.
Many gorilla foods are concentrated in the bush, secondary growth of forest clearings and disturbed sites. The presence of these areas may affect the abundance of gorillas in some habitats. The high-altitude forests of the Virunga volcanoes have a more open canopy, with bush undergrowth spreading evenly throughout the forest. Gorillas depend on disturbed sites and tend to have smaller home ranges than those in Bwindi and other dense forests.

The plants that gorillas eat include; bamboo shoots, giant thistles and lobelias ( gorilla tours in Uganda).
Crunchy wild celery contain a lot of water which explains why gorillas can go for much of the year without drinking water. They sometimes drink from streams during the dry season, and lick water from heavy rainstorms.
Just like humans, gorillas have a single stomach and rather long intestines, which is less efficient for digesting vegetation than the multi-chambered stomach of Colobus monkeys and the hoofed ruminants. (gorilla trekking Rwanda) This explains why they must eat large of vegetation daily (over 20Kgs for an adult male), and always look bloated.

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