Social Organisation of Gorillas

Gorillas live in a groups that are called troops, whoops or gorilla families which are usually made up of 2- 40 gorillas. The troop is chronologically organised in a family setting like that of humans as in the group there is on dominant alpha male called a silverback, around four females attached to the alpha and the young ones of different offspring and age.

The alpha male the silver back

These are large males with a silvery hair at their back. The silver colour at the back develops as the male matures and normally developing at the age of 12 years till the end of the life span. The silver back is the hugest of all the gorillas in a troop as it usual weighs around 170 kg. The silverback is the centre of attention and deeds in the gorilla family as it is the protector of the family from external attackers and this reaches an extent of risking its life to safeguard its family. It is also in charge of all movements of the other gorillas in the jungle as they look for food and shelter. The silverback is also the intermediary of any dispute amongst the gorillas as it reconciles any prevailing issue among the gorillas. When the dominant silverback dies, gorilla family disintegrates as the other males take up the family of which sometimes the other upcoming main silverbacks kill the young ones or abandons them and take on the female ones.

The adult females gorilla

There are always 3-4 adult females that are always attached to the dominant silver back in a gorilla family. These are the mothers of the young gorillas in the family and these are smaller than the alpha male gorillas as they normally weigh around 100kgs and have a height of 140 cm. These gorillas are responsible for taking care of the young ones and also pampering the silverback.

The mid age gorillas both female and male(blackbacks)

There are always mid age gorillas that are of 5-10 years as these are considered as gorillas which have not grown into adults. These are normally part of the gorilla family as they help out the adult gorillas in the social duties of the troop. For example the male ones support the silverback and help him in looking for the food and place for shelter. However, at the age of ten, they normally starting isolating from the big troop but within the same territory as they get partner to set up their own families.

Young ones

Young gorillas are always jumpy, playful and always eager to know everything around. These usually have a close bond with their mothers from the age of 2-4 years but later on they start playing on their own and at times with the silverback which grooms them with masculine traits.


Gorillas live in groups of 2-40 and you can never find a gorilla alone. These animals are social and different relationships exist with the gorilla troop. Most female gorillas in the troop always have a strong bondage with the dominant silverback which are strengthened through mating. Nevertheless at times the males and female gorillas are belligerent to each other but no serious injuries are caused.

The female gorillas are usually aggressive to each other for the reasons of accessing to the male gorillas and this makes the female to female relationship not tight. Due to the dominance motives, the relationships between the male gorillas is loose although all male individuals within the group are friendlier to each other as they work hand in hand to protect the family and also look for shelter and food.

Female to female relationships are not strong and often aggressive fighting occurs over access to males. Relationships between males are not strong because of dominance issues however within all male groups individuals are friendlier with each other.

Relationship to the other animals

Gorillas are tolerant to other species of animals as they can live in harmony with them if they do not attack them. Their worst worry are the leopards that attack their helpless young ones at times and also they are suspicious of humans as they take long to trust being around them. Some gorillas are being hunted down by people as bushmeat in particular the western lowland gorillas and this has brought the mistrust of gorillas to mankind.