Do Gorillas Eat Meat?

Mary Jane Rosenberg Mary Jane Rosenberg
Do Gorillas Eat Meat?

They mainly consume vegetables, leaves, fruits, etc. Gorillas are vegetarian. But they eat certain insects, which only account for one to two percent of the diet. Gorillas are almost always herbivores.

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What Science Has to Say?

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute have found remains of mammalian DNA in the feces of Gabonese gorillas. This could indicate that gorillas (until now considered herbivores) occasionally feed on meat.

Are gorillas omnivores?
Are gorillas omnivores?

Are gorillas omnivores?

Are gorillas omnivores? Things are not so clear. Gorillas are known to eat ants, which, in turn, feed on the bones of dead primates.
It may be that the ants, in their digestive system, had remained mammalian DNA and passed to their feces or something much simpler.

It may be that the stool samples collected are contaminated just because another mammal has “smelled, sucked or peed,” – says G. Schubert, co-author of the study.

The evidence is thus not conclusive, but gorillas may also eat meat. And they wouldn’t be the only great apes to do so: Chimpanzees and bonobos (and humans) also hunt and eat other animals.

Do Gorillas Eat Meat?
Do Gorillas Eat Meat?

What Gorillas Eat in The Zoo?

In nature, the food spectrum is very large. Western lowland gorillas feed on around 200 species of herbs.
They eat leaves and stems. But tree bark and the pulp in the branches are also on their menu. Gorillas can differentiate between edible and poisonous or inedible fruits.

As with any zoo animal, only the keepers can feed gorillas. Cookies, sweets, or even bananas have no place with the “gentle giants.”

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In the Zoo, gorillas are mainly fed on fruit, lettuce, herbs, and vegetables. Fennel, leek, cauliflower, onions, lettuce hearts, romanesco, pointed cabbage, artichokes, tomatoes, kohlrabi, cabbage, carrots, peppers, beetroot, celery, lettuce hearts are the most common vegetables that the gorillas are fed once a day. The vegetables are mostly scattered throughout the indoor enclosure.

Gorilla's Favorite Food
Gorilla’s Favorite Food

Gorilla’s Favorite Food

Of course, every gorilla has “his favorite vegetable.” However, the carrot has established itself as the absolute favorite among the vegetables. 
Presumably, because it tastes “slightly sweet,” the carrot is particularly popular with the gorillas. On the menu, almost every day are mainly “bitter vegetables” such as chicory, various salads, leeks, and the carrots mentioned above. 

Each gorilla has its own technique. Often the outside is peeled off, and only the inside is consumed. 

On the other hand, cauliflower or potatoes (cooked) are rarely fed. But an Assumbo gorilla can also cope with a cauliflower. 

It is not possible to say exactly whether fennel will help with stomach ache or diarrhea. In nature, gorillas use herbs and plants in a targeted manner. 
 When it comes to feeding, it is not just what you feed that plays a major role, but how. In the European Zoo, for example, the daily vegetables come from above. Salads and vegetables get caught in the bars. 

The gorillas are asked to climb. Skill is often required. The Zoo often hides vegetables in canisters. Even older animals are happy to accept this type of feeding.
In most zoos, the vegetables are distributed on the ground so that the gorillas can eat from the ground as they would in nature. 

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