Silverback Gorilla Strength: How Powerful Is A Silverback Gorilla?
How Strong Is A Silverback Gorilla?
The silverback gorilla strength is certainly formidable.
Silverback gorillas are the largest primates on Earth and their strength cannot be compared to that of any other primates.
Gorillas are among the top 10 strongest animals on Earth. It is estimated that a silverback gorilla is 9 times stronger than an average human. It is also believed that a silverback gorilla can lift over 800 kilograms of dead weight.
That is roughly twice as much as a well-trained weightlifter.
Gorillas are categorized into mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas. These primates share 98% of DNA with us. That’s why they have most things closely related to those of humans.
Mountain gorillas live on the slopes of highlands and they are today only found in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo. These are one of the most attractive creatures on Earth today because of their interesting nature.
Mountain gorillas can only be seen during a gorilla trekking adventure in Africa. You cannot find them in zoos.
What Is A Silverback Gorilla?
Silverback doesn’t refer to a particular species of gorillas, but a male gorilla that has reached full adulthood.
When the male gorilla reaches this stage of growth, he develops a swath of silvery gray air on his back. This is similar to how humans develop grey hair in their late adult life.
But unlike humans, female gorillas do not develop silvery grey backs. The silvery gray back of the male gorilla looks silvery (contrasting beautifully with the dark black of the rest of the body) and thus the name “silverback gorilla”.
As well as this impressive signifier of maturity, Silverback are known for displays of dominance that includes whooping, chest-beating, charging, tree slapping, and less commonly, physical duels.
The male gorilla attains the prestigious status of “silverback” between the age of 13 – 15 years. Before attaining the this status, the gorilla goes through several stages of growth, including;
- Infant (0 to 4 years) that is still dependent on the mother breastfeeding,
- Juvenile (4 to 6 years) that has been weaned by the mother and becomes semi-independent,
- Adolescence (6 to 8 years) who are not yet sexually mature
- Sub-adult (8 to 10 years) who has become sexually active
- Blackback (10 to 13 years) sexually mature but not fully mature physically
- Silverback (13+ years) fully mature
Silverback Gorilla Weight
The silverback gorilla is the biggest ape in the world.
By the age 13 years the male gorillas that have now turned into silverbacks grow tremendously in size, achieving a size that is twice that of the adult female gorilla.
The silverback will reach a standing height of over 6 feet (2 meters), and weigh up to 573 pounds (260 kilograms), and arm spans up to 2.6 metres.
The heaviest silverback gorilla recorded was a 1.83 meters silverback shot in Ambam, Cameroon, which weighed 589 pounds (267 kilograms). Males in captivity can be overweight and reach weights up to 683 pounds (310 kilograms).
Silverback Gorilla Strength Facts
1. Silverback Gorilla Strength Vs Human
How strong is a Gorilla compared to a human? When comparing the strength of a silverback gorilla to human strength, gorillas are between 4 to 9 times stronger than man.
Because of their size and strength, a silverback gorilla can lift double the weight of a dead weight lifted by a strong human being.
2. Can A Person Fight A Silverback Gorilla?
A common question that runs in minds of many peoples’ brain is “what if a strong man got into a fight with a gorilla, who would win the fight?
An unarmed human being could not beat a gorilla in a fight.
In fact, if you had to go hand-to-hand with any other animal on the planet, a silverback gorilla would be one of the worst draws you could manage. You’d only survive if that was what the silverback wanted.
A silverback gorilla’s weight is between 136 to 200 kilograms on average. The average weight of a human is between 60 to 80 kilograms. Gorillas also have thicker skin and skulls compared to human beings.
So, if you hit a fully-grown silverback way too hard (provided you’re brave enough to walk up to him and do it) you will end up breaking your arm in the attempt.
The arms of gorillas are also stronger and longer than those of human beings.
And gorillas are wild animals. Thier wild nature would not let them fight you like a human to a human. They fight wild and this can indeed lead to a very dangerous end of the fight.
This is seen even in their fights when a silverback gorilla fights with another silverback or any other gorilla.
If gorillas engage in bites in the fight, there is no way a human would exchange this bite. The mouths of gorillas are larger. They also have powerful jaws and sharp teeth that can easily penetrate the soft human flesh.
3. How Strong Is A Gorilla Punch?
It is believed that a silverback gorilla punch is strong enough to shatter your skull with one slam of its arm. However, this doesn’t mean that gorillas go around throwing powerful punches. Gorillas are peaceful creatures despite their colossal size and incredible strength.
4. Silverback Gorilla Teeth & Jaws
Silverback gorillas have powerful jaws. The jaw force is not the only thing that makes the silverback gorillas dangerous, these Great Apes also have large teeth and sharp canines that can grow up to two inches long.
The teeth aren’t for chomping flesh. They are used for display, in particular, to defend against external threats, as well as fend off other male gorillas competing for dominance.
5. How Strong Is a silverback gorilla bite?
Well, one bite from this shy giant, and you certainly won’t stick around for another.
When we imagine being bitten, animals such as lions, crocodiles, and sharks are among the ones we fear the most.
These are the kind of creatures that share similar characteristics of monstrous massive mouths and razor-sharp teeth.
Boasting an ability to bite 1300 Psi, the mountain gorilla has a weapon that it can keep in reserve for emergencies. In comparison, lions can produce a mere 650 Psi while the bull shark can strain itself to bite down at 1350 Psi.
So, while you may think of how strong gorillas are in terms of how much they can lift above, these rainforest giants also have one of the strongest bites on the planet.
6. Who Would Win Lion Vs Gorilla?
Gorillas and lions all inhabit the same general area in east Africa. However, the African lion lives in the savannah ecosystem which is predominantly grassland. And gorillas reside in dense forests.
It is unlikely that these two wonderful African animals would ever meet. Gorillas are big and an adult male can weigh up to 260 kg but a male African lion can weigh up to 190 kg which is on par with the silverback gorilla.
African male lions have their neck surrounded by a thick mane. This thick fur helps in shielding its neck when fighting and intimidating other males.
Gorillas also have long and sharp canines designed not for flesh, but for intimidation. Though their jaw muscles are strong enough to tear through the bark, roots, bamboo, vines, and twigs they still pale in comparison to the predatory teeth of their opponent: the male lion.
Gorillas’ bite force of around 1300 pounds per square inch is one of the strongest in the animal kingdom. It is double that of a lion. But, it’s hard to say if a gorilla can fight a lion armed with a mouth full of teeth and claws built for hunting.
The diet of a lion mainly consists of both large and small animals. They are known to take down prey of up to 1000 kilograms in size, typically by clamping down on the animal’s neck with its massive jaws. Thus, the question of who would win, gorilla Vs lion, the answer is far from a simple one. The odds could go both ways.
7. Why Are Silverback Gorillas So Strong?
The silverback gorillas’ remarkable strength is due to several factors, including their size, shape, and diet. Gorillas have a unique robust physical structure.
A gorilla’s arms are incredibly muscular and quite a bit longer than its legs.
Gorillas are known to walk on all fours, as well. By doing so, their arms receive an enormous amount of exercise daily.
As is the case with most animals and plants, diet is the driving factor behind a level of health, fitness, and physical conditioning.
Existing on a copious yet sustainable diet of plants; roots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, tree bark, pulp; and sometimes small insects, gorillas are primarily vegetarians.
Their need for up to 20 kilogram of food per day requires the constant gathering and consumption of food. Gorillas have a longer digestive system than human beings do, so they can extract more nutrients from plants, than us.
Mountain gorillas can absorb a high concentration of carbon. Carbon is the basic building block for life, as all mammals are carbon-based entities.
Obviously, this mass consumption of carbon helps gorillas to become extremely strong. Such an organic, highly nutritious intake of low-fat, high-energy ammunition is the oil of the enormous gorilla engine.
Are silverback gorillas aggressive?
The silverback gorilla is big. It is strong and very capable of causing detrimental damage to those most deserving. But, gorillas are placid and very bashful creatures.
This non-aggressive nature of the silverback gorilla has earned it the tag “Gentle Giant”. In the wild, a silverback uses its incredible strength to fall trees to reach its fruits. The gorilla families you will visit during your Uganda gorilla safaris are well-habituated for visitors.
Mountain gorillas don’t start fighting. In fact, they do everything in their power to avoid them. If a silverback gorilla is challenged, it is apt to cowed the challenger with impressive shows of physical power.
He may stand upright, throw things, make aggressive charges, and pound his huge chest while barking out powerful hoots or unleashing a frightening roar.
Despite these displays and the animals’ obvious physical power, gorillas are generally calm and non-aggressive unless they are disturbed.
If they are threatened, gorillas possess the gargantuan size and strength to ruthlessly end any conflict. Visitors on gorilla trekking tours are always advised to follow the gorilla trekking rules, including:
- Don’t use flash photography, as this could startle them.
- You should always remember to maintain a 7-meter distance away from gorillas. If you get so close, they could feel threatened and thus become aggressive and charge you
- Don’t make sudden movements or loud noises as these could alarm the gorillas.
- If a gorilla comes close, remain submissive and do not look them in the eye, as this is interpreted as a challenge. As tempting as it is, do not touch a baby gorilla.
- If you happen to look into the eyes of a gorilla, take a brief moment to enjoy the experience, but then immediately take your gaze off the gorilla’s eyes and look down. This signals to the gorilla that you are not a threat and that everyone can relax.
- Always stick with your group under the leadership of the park Rangers and Guides. Moving out of the group without a Ranger could put you in danger.
What Animals Are Stronger Than A Silverback Gorilla?
Few animals on Earth can outmatch the silverback gorilla strength.
However, it does have some competitors. Along with grizzly bears, elephants are stronger than gorillas. African elephants are the world’s strongest mammals and can lift nearly 20,000 pounds (9072 kg)!
The silverback gorilla has a mighty bite, but it can’t beat crocodiles!
Saltwater crocodiles, which are the heaviest reptile in the world, have the strongest bite force at 3,700 PSI! The mammals with the strongest bite force are hippos, with an estimated bite force of 1,820 PSI.
Although some of these animals are larger than gorillas, the silverback gorilla isn’t the strongest animal based on its size either.
Surprisingly, that honor goes to the dung beetle, which can lift more than 1,100 times its body weight. As strong as gorillas are, there are creatures in the animal kingdom that are even stronger.
Where To See The Silverback Gorillas
Gorillas are endemic to the African continent. The mountain gorillas are more popular due to the gorilla trekking activity offered in Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo, which allows tourists to trek in the jungles to see the gorillas.
Coming face to face with the enormous silverback gorilla without any barrier is one of the most beautiful moments that are hard to explain.
You can book a gorilla tour to see gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
Top Silverback Gorilla Tours
2-Day Gorilla Trekking Uganda Tour – From Kigali
3-Day Gorilla Trekking Uganda from Kampala/Entebbe
3-Day Gorilla Trek Uganda Tour via Kigali Rwanda
4-Day Lake Mburo Wildlife & Bwindi Gorilla Tours
4-Day Uganda Gorillas Fly-in Safari
5-Day Gorilla And Wildlife Safari In Uganda
5-Day Uganda Gorillas, Chimps & Wildlife
5-Days Gorilla Trekking & White-Water Rafting Safari
6-Day Uganda Safari, Chimps, Gorillas, Wildlife, & Tree-climbing Lions
7-Day Uganda Wildlife Safari | Chimps, Gorillas, Big 5 & More!
7-Day Uganda Gorillas, Chimp, Wildlife, & Community Tour
8-Day Uganda Chimps, Gorillas, & Wildlife Viewing Safari
Trekking gorillas in Uganda: A Complete Guide
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