The western lowland gorilla scientifically known as “Gorilla gorilla gorilla” is one of two subspecies of the western gorilla that lives in montane, tropical forests and lowland swamps in central Africa in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. It is the smallest subspecies of gorilla but nevertheless still a primate of exceptional size and strength.
They possess no tails and have jet black skin along with coarse black hair that covers their entire body except for the face, ears, hands and feet. The hair on the back and rump of males takes on a grey coloration and is also lost as they get progressively older.
This coloration is the reason why older males are known as “silverbacks”. Their hands are proportionately large with nails on all digits, similar to that of a human’s, and very large thumbs. They have short muzzles, a prominent brow ridge, large nostrils and small eyes and ears.
Other features are large muscles in the jaw region along with broad and strong teeth. Among these teeth are strong sets of frontal canines and large molars in the back of the mouth for grinding fruits and vegetables. Female western lowland gorillas do not produce many offspring due to the fact that they do not reach sexual maturity until the age of 8 or 9.
Female gorillas give birth to one infant after a gestation period of nearly nine months. Female gorillas do not show signs of pregnancy. Unlike their powerful parents, newborns are tiny and weigh about four pounds and are only able to cling to their mothers’ fur.
These infants ride on their mothers’ backs from the age of four months through the first two or three years of their lives. Infants can be dependent on their mother for up to five years.