Could you eat 45 pounds of plants and termites in one day? You would if you were a gorilla. Gorillas are native to Africa and are generally separated into three groups: eastern lowland, western lowland and mountain gorillas. Each has a slightly different diet based on the habitat where they live.
All gorillas eat plants, including vines, grasses and shrubs. However, gorillas can be picky and might only eat the leaves, flowers, bark, stems or roots of a specific plant. Because most plants are low in nutritional quality, gorillas must eat a lot and they spend most of their mornings and evenings searching for and eating food. They eat fruit when it is available and will hunt for insects like termites and ants.
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Diet
These gorillas live in tropical forests below 8,000 feet in elevation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This habitat offers a wide variety of food material. This group will eat more than 100 kinds of plants. While plants make up the largest part of their diet, when fruit is available it accounts for 25 percent of the eastern lowland gorilla's diet. They prefer ants over other insects.
Western Lowland Gorilla Diet
Western lowland gorillas inhabit swampy forests and tropical forests below 5,300 feet in elevation in western Africa. Like the eastern lowland gorillas, the western group also eats a variety of plants. However, their habitat usually provides fruit year-round and gorillas in this group eat aquatic vegetation. They also eat termites, ants and caterpillars. The western lowland gorilla travels more than the other gorilla groups, averaging more than half a mile a day in search of food.
Mountain Gorilla Diet
The rarest of the groups, mountain gorillas live between 7,000 and 13,000 feet in the mountains of western Africa. Their favorite food appears to be bamboo, but mountain gorillas also eat many other types of plants. Due to their habitat, fruit is rare and makes up a very small portion of their diet. These gorillas also hunt for ants, grubs and snails.
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