Gestation period of Mountain gorillas : An encounter with the mountain gorillas is the best among all wild life encounters worldwide. Mountain gorillas are sub species of the eastern gorillas along with the eastern lowland gorillas. There are approximately 900 mountain gorillas still existing in the whole world half of which reside in Uganda in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national parks. The other two countries where you can engage in gorilla tours are Rwanda in volcanoes national park and the Democratic republic of Congo in the Virungas national park. Mountain gorillas are different from other primates.
Most would love to know about the way these lovely and fascinating primates come to existence and that’s why the gestation period of these primates’ matters to know most about. The gestation period of mountain gorillas is about 8.5 to 9 months equivalent to that of humans and a new born usually weighs 2kg, smaller than human babies at birth. Gorillas have a slow reproduction rate with a maximum number of offspring in their lifetime being 6 to 8 babies.
Female gorillas reach sexual maturity at about 10 – 12 years. Mating and breeding occurs throughout the year. Usually the dominant silverback mates with all females in the group as soon as they begin ovulation and the female gorilla initiates the mating when they are ready. The silverback can also approach the female for mating.
After the mating process, the female gorilla has the gestation period of 8.5 – 9 months and they give birth every after 4 years. It is rare to give birth to twins amongst the mountain gorillas.
Young are born throughout the year and usually at night.
Usually a single infant is born with twins being rare.
There is a 40% mortality rate for newborns which means that an adult female usually only has 1 surviving offspring produced every 6 to 8 years. Therefore many females will only have 2 to 6 offspring in a lifetime.
Infants are able to cling to their mothers with a very powerful grip from both their hands and feet. The female will initially assist the infant when it is holding on to her chest or stomach.
Young gorillas like to play with their siblings or other youngsters their age. They wrestle, tumble, climb trees, and even form a chain and walk in synchronization through the forest.
Care of Young
Infants are in almost constant contact with their mothers for the first 6 months and nurse for about 2.5 to 3 years.
Although the silverback is the troop’s guardian and can be the most aggressive troop member it can also be patient and gentle with the young. A silverback has even been documented sharing his nest with an orphaned infant.
Gorilla infants grow and develop much quicker than human babies. They usually begin playing, smiling, and bouncing at 8 weeks. At about 9 weeks they begin crawling. Exploration of their environment and object manipulation begins around 3 months of age. They are able to stand at 20 weeks and at 34 weeks they are usually walking and traveling short distances from their mothers. Around 6 to 7 months of age, the infants are able to climb on their mothers’ backs and ride. Babies will begin eating some vegetation at around 2.5 months and make it the majority of their diet by 6 to 7 months.
Males and females look very similar during their juvenile (3-6) and adolescent (6-8) years. However, when males mature into their black period, they are taller and begin developing adult male characteristics. The silvering of hair on the back begins at around 13 years of age.
Some facts about mountain gorillas
These are some facts about mountain gorillas that one should know about mountain gorillas aside from just their gestation period and these could as well be of great impact as u chooses to have a visit to these great primates.
Mountain gorilla looks aggressive with males having crowned muscles and the silvery hair on their backs at their age of sexual maturity. They have long arm than legs, large head s with no hair, shiny black muzzle, thick trunk and broad chest.
They Are Mountainous
Just like their name, mountain gorillas live in hilly regions. The rare species hike up to the mountain peaks, which are mostly forested. The thick fur enables them to survive the coldness in the higher altitudes. Gorilla trekking in Africa therefore entails hiking the dense forest the experience that every traveler lives to remember.
They are mainly herbivorous feeding on vegetation. Mountain gorillas mainly eat fruits, leaves, wild celery, thistles, stinging nettles, bedstraw and bamboo shoots. However, though vegetarian, sometimes they can grab small insects, ants and larvae for delicacy.
Susceptible To Human Diseases
Mountain gorillas are so close to human beings sharing 98% of human genes which them so vulnerable to human diseases. The mostly spread are airborne like flue and cough easily spread from people to mountain gorilla. Because of this, travelers are advised to keep a distance of seven meters away from the gorillas and others like in virungas, travelers are given masks to put on their mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing.
Mountain gorillas are movable in that they cannot stay in one place for two nights. Every morning, each family led by a dominant silver back leaves the site they slept and move to new places. They make new nests in the evening where they sleep that very night and will not return there the next night, this is reason why the ranges have to observe where the gorillas have slept so that they can be followed by the trekkers he next morning.
When to trek mountain gorillas
Most people love to have a trek with the famous mountain gorillas and these are one of the main reasons as to why most people come to Uganda for tours just to have a fascinating period with the lovely mountain kings, It is important to note that Mountain gorillas can be tracked at any time of the year because their movements are not affected by changing seasons. never the less the perfect time to track gorillas is just after the rainy season has ended and the countryside is still looking green and fertile. Getting this time right is not easy considering that global warming has affected weather patterns a lot in African making it difficult to predict the beginning and end of the wet and dry seasons. At the end of the day, the final decision of when to visit remains with the traveler and if you want to have a trek in Uganda for the great primates just send in your booking with one of the most trusted Uganda Safari Company.