5 Differences Between Mountain Gorillas and Lowland Gorillas – The Actual Facts
For many, mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas are just gorillas. But these giant apes differ in nature from where they are found to how they look like and feed. These facts between the 2 gorillas gives you a hint on which gorilla safari you should take.
Gorillas can never make it boring to detect their behaviors both in captivity as well as in wild. The lowland gorillas are the smallest species found in the central Africa Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, central Africa republic of Angola etc. The lowland gorilla can also be seen in Kahuzi-biega national park and in Odzala national park.
Whereas the mountain gorillas are gorillas that live in highly altitudes of about (8000-13000ft) and they are found in three national parks of Mgahinga national park, Bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda and volcanoes national park in Rwanda.
The species and subspecies could at times cause confusion most especially when their scientific names are concerned. The mountain gorilla is scientifically known as “beringei beringei” though the lowland gorilla is commonly known as “gorilla gorilla”.
The two subspecies of gorillas are frequently taken into one. They have a distinct difference like for instance the mountain gorillas are larger with shorter arms and longer hair whereas the lowland gorilla is likely to be seen in the very thick forest and trees.
Differences Between Mountain Gorilla and Lowland Gorilla
The mountain gorillas are likely to be found in thick forested lands with high altitudes of about 1,500m-4000m(8000-13,000ft) living in freezing temperatures whereas the lowland gorillas live in the lower altitude of tropical forest.
Mountain gorillas exist in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo while the lowland gorillas are found in countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Central African Republic and Cameroon. Therefore, tourists are advised to do a gorilla trekking Uganda or Rwanda tour along with gorilla trekking safari to Congo.
Just like how their names are, the mountain gorillas have a slight difference in their physical structure unlike the lowland gorillas. The mountain gorillas have shorter arms, larger teeth, nose and jaw whereas the lowland gorillas have a shorter head and a body hair.
The male lowland gorilla has gray hair on their backs once they are elderly on the other hand; the mountain gorilla has silver that is where it got its name silverback.
The lowland gorillas have shorter and softer fur and they are lighter while mountain gorillas have darkly colored longer fur and they are very shaggier compared to that of the lowland gorillas. This incredible difference can only be seen once one takes a Uganda gorilla safari or a Congo safari or if it’s not enough, one can decide to go to Rwanda gorilla trekking safari.
Difference in Size;
Mountain gorillas are the leading primates, with males ranging from 300-485lbs (135-220kg) with a height of 4-6ft tall. As for the lowland gorillas, they are a bit smaller weighing 150-400lbs (65-180kg). And it is also said that the females of mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas weigh about half of the males about 90kgs (2000lbs) and they are always considered small.
Difference in Feeding;
We can say all gorillas are herbivores, though the western lowland gorillas are omnivorous commonly feeding on fruits, insect and small reptiles and mainly plant materials and on top of that, they are seen on tree branches eating leaves and the barks of the trees for food. Whereas mountain gorillas diet is strictly based on plant materials such as stems, shoots bark of trees as well as leaves which makes them primarily herbivorous,
Gorilla Social Life;
Studies show that lowland gorillas live in groups of 4 to 8 members and even if they are in small groups, of course they still don’t live in single lives. Whereas as we all gorillas live their social life by families also known as group. Like for mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas (Eastern) live in troops with as many as 30-40members.every troop consists of a male dominant gorilla, females and their immature young ones.
When they are upset or enraged, mountain gorillas produce a strong scent from its glands under their arms on the other hand, lowland gorillas don’t give that strange odor and it doesn’t play a larger part in their culture.
Lowland gorillas though they live in primary forests of both lowland and high, they can’t tolerate the coldness unlike the mountain gorillas which can tolerate the severe colds despite living in the higher altitudes.
In Uganda tourists can track gorilla families in Bwindi impenetrable national park since the park is a UNESCO heritage site and it offers protection to the endangered mountain gorilla and also their natural habitat state, this is also done in Mgahinga national park. While with lowland gorillas, tracking has a flexible success because it tends to move very fast and on top of that, the republic of Congo gives the best opportunity to tourists to track the habituated families of lowland gorillas.
Therefore, in terms of convenience in having a gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda gives the best experience on the daily basis for the rest of the year when it comes to gorilla tracking. You may also need to know, Is It Safe To Go Gorilla Trekking In Uganda During Covid-19?
Where they are Found;
The western gorillas (lowland gorillas) are found in the forests of equatorial Africa from the western side near the Cameroon coast through Gabon, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and perhaps the democratic republic of Congo. Thus the mountain gorilla also known as the eastern gorilla are found in only two places and that is Uganda (Mgahinga national park and Bwindi impenetrable national park) and also in Virunga volcanoes that separate democratic republic of Congo from Rwanda.
Frequently lowland gorillas are found in zoos around the world and their population currently is 50000 unlike the mountain gorillas which are 900 in number and it is said that trekking mountain gorillas in their habitat state is expensive as well as a life time experience.
The mountain gorillas are primarily worldly and quadruped because they only climb on trees with strong branches to carry their heavy weight whereas the lowland gorillas are always moving in trees.
In conclusion, the mountain gorillas are different from the lowland gorillas though their physical difference are not mentioned clearly but these two species differ in very many ways like coat, fur, body size, weight etc, and also despite that their habitats vary since they are found in only three countries in the entire world. Thus, this makes the mountain gorillas extra unique than the lowland gorilla.