What is a silverback gorilla?

August 26, 2023 | Bujo Safaris

What is a silverback gorilla?

The ancient and muscular silverback gorillas are called so because of the silver saddle of hair on their backs. The enormous and very fierce silver bugs have long black and thick hair, shaggy coats that keep their bodies warm even in extremely cold temperatures a case in point in the southwest of Uganda. They are known to live in the Equatorial parts of Africa in southwest of Uganda, some parts of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Physicality of silverbacks.

Silverbacks have silver gray saddles across their backs and the upper thighs at sexual maturity. They are the broad chested gentle giants that provide security to the entire gorilla family. The average captive silver backs have broad shoulders that acknowledge their masculinity and strength. The original silverbacks also have large human like hands that they use in their day-to-day activities such as gathering food for their off springs and protection from enemies. Original silver backs have small eyes set in to hairless faces that help them see clearly in the jungle amidst tree branches and leaves.

Lifespan of silverbacks.

The average captive silverbacks have a lifespan of 35 to 40 years in the jungle while the ones in the zoos can even make it up to 50 and more years due to the ease in life.

Roles of silverbacks in gorilla families

Protect the entire gorilla family. Silverbacks are entrusted with the responsibility to protect the entire family of gorillas including females and juveniles. They are generally strong and will fight off any animal that appears to be a threat to their family. Their physicality sets them apart and is an added advantage in terms of protection since their large arms can be used as a form of defense against enemies in the jungle especially other wildlife and even poachers. 

Mediate conflicts. More like the human settings, silverbacks are entrusted with the responsibility to keep peace and it's in this virtue that the mediate conflicts among the family members that helps keep peace. Conflicts often rise among the other males in the family especially the ones who want dominancy and it is the responsibility of the silverback to make sure that they are at peace with the current supreme leader of the family. 

Breed with females to pass on genetics.  Silverbacks furthermore have the responsibility of mating with the females in the family to make sure that the family doesn't go extinct. They have mating seasons whereby the males approach the females in a romantic manner and expect them to coordinate for the good of the family.

Original silverbacks are responsible for the leading the group movements. In times of movements and migration to other parts of the jungle, the amiable silverbacks stand the responsibility to make decisions on where the group can have the best stay such that they migrate to that place for the better lives and protection. This explains the organized movements of mountain gorillas from Uganda to Rwanda and other parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 Silverbacks in the gorilla families further have a task to make decisions about feeding. The whole gorilla family does not just move around in the jungle aimlessly but they are guided by a knowledgeable silverback that knows what's best for the entire group. Such intelligent skills make them dominant animals in the family and worth the respect they are accorded.

Clever silverbacks also have the task to make decisions about resting locations in the jungle and how to make them. It is important to note that gorillas make nests that they sleep in every night. This cannot be possible unless there’s the guidance of a dominant silverback in the family.  Silver backs guide the other members of the family on how to make them and the perfect location on where to put them for the peaceful nights.

Silverbacks also act as umbrella individuals for their natural habitats and they will defend and chase away anyone that appears to be a threat to it. This partially explains why gorillas often charge to individuals with ill intentions in the forests especially poachers. This further sets them apart from the rest of the members in the family.

Recent Posts

August 29, 2023

Mount. Sabyinyo hike

The name “Sabyinyo” is a Kinyarwanda local word meaning the “Old man's tooth”…

Full Article

August 29, 2023

KIGALI CITY TOUR

Located in the immediate heart of the country, Kigali is the largest city and the…

Full Article

August 29, 2023

Lake Ihema in Rwanda.

Lake Ihema is the largest lake in Akagera national park. This magnificent lake is fed…

Full Article

August 29, 2023

Lion tracking experience in Queen Elizabeth NP.

This magnificent park is the only park offering lion tracking experience and…

Full Article

August 29, 2023

Hike to Diane Fossey’s Tomb

Dian Fossey was an American wildlife researcher, zoologist and one of the most…

Full Article

August 29, 2023

GORILLA TREKKING IN RWANDA Vs CONGO

Virunga Massif in the Democratic Republic of Congo plus Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable…

Full Article