What Does a Cross River Gorilla Eat?
What Do Animals Eat

What Does a Cross River Gorilla Eat? An Overview of Their Diet

If you’re curious about what the Cross River Gorilla eats, you’re in the right place. These critically endangered primates are native to the mountainous regions of Cameroon and Nigeria, where they have a unique diet that reflects their habitat and biology.

In this article, we’ll explore the feeding habits of Cross River Gorillas, their preferred foods, and how their diet impacts their survival in the wild. So, let’s dive in and learn more about what these majestic creatures eat.

What is the Cross River Gorilla?

Before we dive into the specifics of the Cross River Gorilla’s diet, let’s take a moment to introduce this fascinating primate. The Cross River Gorilla is a subspecies of the Western Gorilla and is considered one of the rarest primates on Earth.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), there are only around 300 Cross River Gorillas left in the wild, making them critically endangered. They have distinctive features that set them apart from other gorillas, including shorter hair, smaller skulls, and a unique nose shape.

What Does a Cross River Gorilla Eat?

Cross River Gorillas are primarily herbivorous, which means they mainly eat plants. However, their diet is not limited to just leaves and fruits. They also consume a variety of other plant materials, such as stems, bark, and roots.

Studies have shown that the Cross River Gorilla has a diverse diet that includes over 200 plant species. Some of their preferred foods include:

  1. Fruits: Cross River Gorillas are known to eat a wide range of fruits, including figs, berries, and wild plums. Fruits are an important source of vitamins and nutrients for these primates.
  2. Leaves: Leaves are a staple in the Cross River Gorilla’s diet. They consume a variety of leaves, including those from trees, vines, and shrubs. Leaves provide a good source of fiber, which is important for digestion.
  3. Bamboo: Bamboo is a preferred food for Cross River Gorillas, and they consume both the leaves and stems. Bamboo is high in protein and helps meet the gorilla’s nutritional needs.
  4. Stems: The gorillas also consume the stems of various plants. These stems are rich in fiber and help the gorillas maintain a healthy digestive system.
  5. Bark: Cross River Gorillas also consume the bark of certain trees. Bark is rich in nutrients and provides a good source of fiber.
  6. Roots: Although not as common, Cross River Gorillas also eat the roots of certain plants. Roots are a good source of carbohydrates and provide energy for these primates.
  7. Insects: Although the Cross River Gorilla is primarily herbivorous, they also consume insects occasionally. They eat termites, ants, and other small insects, which provide them with additional protein and other essential nutrients.

How Does Their Diet Impact Their Survival?

The diet of Cross River Gorillas has a significant impact on their survival. As herbivores, these primates rely on plants for their nutritional needs. However, their preferred foods are becoming increasingly scarce due to habitat loss and hunting.

Deforestation, agriculture, and mining activities have led to the destruction of much of the Cross River Gorilla’s habitat. This has resulted in a decline in the availability of their preferred foods, making it difficult for them to find enough to eat.

Furthermore, hunting and poaching of Cross River Gorillas for bushmeat and traditional medicine have also contributed to their decline. These activities reduce the population of gorillas and can impact the availability of their food sources.

10 Awesome Facts About Cross River Gorillas

Cross River Gorillas are a critically endangered species of gorillas that are only found in the dense rainforests of the Cross River region in Cameroon and Nigeria. They are one of the rarest primates in the world with an estimated population of only 250 individuals. In this section, we will take a closer look at these amazing animals and some interesting facts about them.

  1. Diet: Cross River Gorillas are herbivores and mostly eat fruits, leaves, and stems. Their diet mainly consists of figs, which make up to 50% of their diet. They also eat other fruits like papaya, banana, and guava.
  2. Habitat: Cross River Gorillas live in the forested mountainous regions of Nigeria and Cameroon. They prefer altitudes between 1,500 to 3,500 meters and are found in primary and secondary forests.
  3. Physical Characteristics: Cross River Gorillas are smaller than other gorilla subspecies, with males weighing up to 250 kg and females weighing up to 150 kg. They have longer arms than legs, a prominent brow ridge, and a blackish-grey coat.
  4. Communication: Cross River Gorillas communicate with each other through a series of vocalizations such as grunts, roars, and screams. They also use body language to convey their intentions and emotions.
  5. Social Structure: Cross River Gorillas live in groups known as troops, consisting of one dominant male, several females, and their offspring. The dominant male is responsible for protecting the troop and mating with the females.
  6. Threats: The biggest threat to Cross River Gorillas is habitat loss due to deforestation, farming, and human settlement. They are also hunted for bushmeat and traditional medicine.
  7. Conservation Efforts: Conservation organizations such as the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Cross River Gorilla Project are working to protect the species from extinction. They are involved in habitat restoration, anti-poaching efforts, and community education programs.
  8. Lifespan: Cross River Gorillas have a lifespan of around 35-40 years in the wild.
  9. Reproduction: Female Cross River Gorillas give birth to one infant after a gestation period of 8.5 months. The young gorillas stay with their mothers for around three years.
  10. Taxonomy: Cross River Gorillas belong to the genus Gorilla and are a subspecies of the Western Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla). They were first identified as a distinct subspecies in 1904.


In conclusion, the Cross River Gorilla’s diet is primarily herbivorous, and they consume a variety of fruits, leaves, stems, bark, and occasionally insects. Their diet is essential for their survival and plays a vital role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem in which they live. It is important that we continue to protect these endangered gorillas and their habitats to ensure their survival for future generations.


What is the scientific name of the Cross River Gorilla?

The scientific name of the Cross River Gorilla is Gorilla gorilla diehli.

What is the habitat of the Cross River Gorilla?

Cross River Gorillas live in the mountainous regions of Cameroon and Nigeria.

How do Cross River Gorillas get their water?

Cross River Gorillas obtain most of their water from the plants they consume.

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