Watch This Gorilla Go Ballistic Upon Seeing His Reflection and Thinking Its a Challenger

Written by Rachael Monson
Updated: August 30, 2023
© Jiri Fejkl/
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Key Points:

  • Scientists used motion-activated cameras to film multiple angles of the aggressive gorilla’s interactions.
  • The recorded clips capture the gorilla displaying its strength by repeatedly slamming its hands on the ground and charging the rival.
  • The gorilla avoids making eye contact with its own reflection, indicating a reluctance to engage in a fight.

In this amazing video, a huge silverback gorilla faces an intruder in his territory. The intruder is actually his reflection. The giant mirror was set up by scientists for this study located in Gabon, Africa.

Did you know – most animals cannot recognize their own reflection in a mirror? This includes humans who teach a baby this skill as they grow. The scientists created this study to answer one question. Will the gorilla’s natural instincts prevent him from learning the reflection is him?

The scientists filmed the interactions from many angles with motion-activated cameras. The cameras collected several clips of this aggressive gorilla displaying his strength. He slams his hands on the ground and charges the rival over and over. He avoids eye contact with his reflection, not wanting to fight. Each time he comes back to the mirror, he is more agitated that the reflection keeps returning too.

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Nothing in the video shows us the gorilla understands he is looking at himself. He tries to scare the reflection but unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Tension builds with each repetition. Scroll to the bottom to see what happens at the end – it shocked me and the gorilla himself!

What Else Do Gorillas Have in Common with Humans?

Eastern lowland gorilla
Gorillas and humans have many things in common.


Gorillas are the third closest relative to humans in the animal world sharing about 96% of the same DNA. Humans are most related to chimpanzees and bonobos.

Gorillas and humans have ears, hands, and teeth/mouths that are very similar in how they look and work. We both have opposable thumbs which allow for grasping objects. Gorillas even have fingernails and toenails! Gorillas have the same number of teeth as humans and their jaws and tongue work like ours too. Like us, gorillas often use tools to do tasks. They even make beds up in the tree tops by weaving leaves and vines together. This keeps them safe from predators while they sleep. Likewise, humans build houses. There are many similarities between humans and gorillas.

Is this Aggressive Behavior Normal?

Silverbacks Fight
Silverback gorillas have a bite force of 1300 psi.


Yes, it is! Silverback gorillas protect their troops with their lives. Any threat to the troop meets an aggressive show of force. The fierce leader will fight to the death if needed. Weighing in at roughly 430 pounds, the silverback gorilla is a force to reckon with. They can bite down with a force of 1300 psi (pounds-per-square-inch). A bite from a gorilla would be like the weight of an entire horse slamming down on your arm. Not to mention the two-inch fangs that would pierce right through your skin and crush your bones. The gorilla’s bite force is one of the strongest in the animal kingdom.

A silverback gorilla can punch with a force of 2,700 psi. A rough comparison to this is a car hitting a person weighing 150 pounds at 18 mph (miles per hour). Strength, power, and aggressive nature make the silverback gorilla one of the most dangerous animals in Africa next to the Big Five.

The Featured Image

Gorillas can be aggressive animals.
© Jiri Fejkl/

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About the Author

Rachael is a lifelong animal lover who has worked in the veterinary industry since 2012. Once she started working at a veterinary clinic, she never looked back. She started as a groomer and quickly moved up into a veterinary assistant position. She constantly pushed for training and knowledge about veterinary medicine and nursing care. After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, Rachael determined she would need to cut back her hours and find a less physically demanding side hustle. That's how she ended up here, freelance writing for! Rachael's dream in life is to become a cat show judge with The International Cat Association (TICA) and/or Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA). Judges get to travel the world and meet beautiful Purebred cats from every continent. Meeting the people that love their cats as much as she does is also a huge positive of the cat fancy. Rachael bred and raised Bengal cats under her cattery name Nemera Bengals for about 8 years before a cross-country move meant she had to stop. She hopes to have a Bengal breeding program again in the future. Rachael shares her home with her adoring husband, a beautiful Bengal cat named Citrine, and a handsome Basset Hound x Pomeranian Mix dog named Pepsi. She works part-time as a veterinary technician and writes in her free time.

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