Food & Diet

Gorillas are primarily herbivores; the majority of their diet is composed of the leaves, shoots and stems of 142 plant species. It also feeds on bark roots, flowers, and fruit as well as small invertebrates. Adult males can eat up to 34 kilograms of vegetation a day, while a female can eat as much as 18 kilograms. Most mountain gorillas take a little nap around a lunch time.

Gorillas stick to a mainly vegetarian diet, feeding on stems, bamboo shoots and fruits. Western lowland gorillas, however, also have an appetite for termites and ants, and break open termite nests to eat the larvae.

Studies in the field have suggested that the gorilla shows both intra population and seasonal variation in diet as well as daily distance traveled.  The western lowlands gorilla eats a variety of fruits, somewhat similar to what the chimpanzee eats in the forests.  The strategies that the gorilla employs are dependent on its food resources.  This isn’t surprising because the gorilla isn’t a migrating species.  When fruits are available in large quantities, lowland gorillas travel long distances to search for food, and when fruits are scarce, gorillas travel less and consume primarily low-quality terrestrial foods.  This strategy probably enables the gorillas to live in forests.

All gorillas eat vegetation.  Most of their food consists of shoots, young leaves and other foliage, bark, roots, as well as various kinds of fruits and seeds.  Large quantities of this non-nutritious food with its high cellulose content are naturally required so that the animals spend a great deal of their time feeding.  Due to their vegetarian diet, they do not require much drinking water.