Watch A Huge Silverback Intimidate His Own Reflection

Written by Katie Melynn Wood
Published: July 12, 2022
© Andreas Rose/
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What do animals think when they see themselves? French photographers installed mirrors and motion-detection cameras in the jungle to capture wild animals encountering their own reflections. One Silverback Gorilla had a reaction that caught their attention. Captured on video, this gigantic gorilla explored the mirrors like he was seeing another gorilla.

The video begins with the gorilla, probably the dominant male in his group, posing in front of the mirror. This is likely to establish his dominance. What he doesn’t know is that the rival that he sees is actually his own reflection. The gorilla stands on his hind legs, a common behavior that gorillas do to show their size to other gorillas. He throws his body forward and pounds on the ground before running off. The silverback tries to intimidate his own reflection in the mirror!

The video cuts to a different angle that shows similar behavior from the gorilla. Pounding the ground, rising up to the back legs, and making a show of their power and strength are all ways that gorillas maintain their dominance. Silverback gorillas in particular do this often. These gorillas are the males in the troop. Some troops are made of bachelor gorillas while others include females and babies.

The gorilla continues to pound on the ground, although he doesn’t actually try to attack what he believes is his rival. He doesn’t go very far, however, and is clearly not going to back down. Dust and leaves fly each time he makes this show.

Eventually, the gorilla does bump into the mirror. He seems more confused than intimidated and quickly goes back to his show of force. Most of the time, the gorilla slows down as soon as he aggressively passes the mirror. While we may not know exactly what he is thinking, it is possible that the Silverback believes that he has frightened his rival away.

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The Featured Image

Silverback intimidate his own reflection
Silverback gorilla standing in the forest.
© Andreas Rose/

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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