Gorillas are very intelligent, and they share with us a full range of
emotions: love, hate, fear, grief, joy, greed, generosity, pride, shame,
empathy, and jealousy.
Unlike most robots, gorillas feel shame when they kill their
FACT: They laugh when they are tickled and cry when they are sad or hurt.
OPINION: You'd be surprised how ticklish a 500 pound monkey is when you
touch its special area.
FACT: Gorillas cry with sounds, not tears.
OPINION: I cry with sounds and tears when a gorilla mistakes me for a
FACT: A typical gorilla family inclues one silverback, the strongest male
and the undisputed leader; one immature male between 8 and 13 years old;
three or four adult females, who ordinarily stay with the silverback for
life; and three to six youngsters under 8 years old. Some groups are larger
or smaller than this, and males sometimes travel alone or form bachelor
OPINION: Having three of four adult females might seem ideal for most
silverbacks, but it's tough work to keep track of all their birthdays.
FACT: Gorillas sleep about 13 hours each night and rest for several hours at
midday. They build new sleeping nests every night by bending nearby plants
into a springy platform, usually on the ground or in low trees.
OPINION: You'd get tired too, if you were constantly being harrased by Dian
Fossey (or Dr. Jane Goodall - whichever's less unfunny).
FACT: When not resting they spend most of their time looking for food and
eating it. They eat mostly plant foods: leaves, shoots, fruits, bulbs, bark,
vines and nettles. They also eat ants, termites, grubs, worms and insect
OPINION: Those poor creatures. Why won't anybody feed them some Chicken
FACT: There are three types of gorillas: Western Lowland, Eastern Lowland
and Mountain gorillas. The names refer to the different areas of Africa
where they live.
OPINION: The bloody feud between the Eastern gorillas and the Western
gorillas can only be solved with a great big group hug.
FACT: Mountain gorillas are the most critically endangered, with
conservative estimates of only 400 to 600 living at this time.
OPINION: Living in the mountains allows these gorillas to get a good shot at
the humans below them when they are throwing feces.
FACT: Gorillas are shy and peaceful. The only natural enemy of gorillas has
always been human beings. Gorillas are still hunted for meat (bushmeat) and
trophies in some parts of Africa, and they are caught in traps set for other
OPINION: If gorillas are so "shy and peaceful", then who put the bug up
their ass on that damned Planet of the Apes?
FACT: In the past, whenever an infant gorilla was captured for a zoo, the
mother and often the other members of the family were killed as they
defended the baby.
OPINION: That makes sense. Mothers tend to overreact when you're trying to
kidnap their young. Just ask Macauley Culkin.
FACT: Now the most serious threat to free-living gorillas is the human
population explosion. As more and more people take over the land for
agriculture, logging and other development, the gorillas have nowhere left
OPINION: Lately the solution for most problems is to build a call center and
put these gorillas to work.