Watch As a Wild Gorilla Shares Gentle Hug with Hiker (Could Have Been Much Worse)

Baby gorilla
Asaf Weizman/Shutterstock.com

Written by Eliana Riley

Updated: October 22, 2023

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Check Out the Amazing Video Below!

In this shocking video, a gorilla hugs a hiker in Uganda! A group of adventurers took a journey through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in 2010. During this journey, the group viewed a family of 14 gorillas in the dense jungle. The guides advised the tourists not to speak, make noise, move, or look the gorillas in the eyes. While the humans kept to the rules, the gorillas did not.

Mountain gorilla, Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. Close-up photo of wild big black silverback monkey in the forest, Africa. Wildlife nature. Mammal in green vegetation. Gorilla sitting in forest,

Watch a gorilla give a hiker a big hug in the middle of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

One gorilla approached a man on the hike and patted him on the back, trying to get his attention. The man stayed completely still, fearful of what the gorilla might do. Thankfully, the gorilla did not attack the tourist. Rather, the animal gave him a compassionate hug from behind. Then, the gorilla sat down next to the tourist and grabbed his leg and arm.

Onlookers snickered quietly while watching the mischievous gorilla. One guide shooed the gorilla away, and the animal disappeared into the forest. Fortunately, no one was harmed during this frightening but affectionate encounter.

How Dangerous are Gorillas?

Silverbacks Fight

Silverback gorillas are formidable creatures with aggressive behavioral tendencies and incredible strength.

Many people assume that wild gorillas are some of the most dangerous animals in the world. However, this assumption is partially incorrect. While gorillas may attack when they feel threatened or have been provoked, they are calm animals. In addition, different gorillas are prone to different behaviors and levels of aggression.

For instance, male silverback gorillas are extremely ferocious and powerful creatures, often fighting against other silverbacks and even hurting juvenile gorillas. Overall, though, these mammals long to be left alone, like most other wild animals throughout the world. Therefore, being respectful of the space and habitats of gorillas is crucial in ensuring that they don’t become aggressive with humans.

Are Gorillas Sympathetic to Humans?

Gorilla vs Human Hand

Gorillas share over 98% of their genetic code with humans, which is perhaps why they connect with us.

While wild gorillas may show aggression toward humans, they may also be friendly. In fact, several gorilla researchers and trainers have developed deep relationships with the creatures. For example, primatologist and conservationist Dian Fossey studied and lived with gorillas for nearly two decades. She found that gorillas and humans could develop intimate relationships and that these animals weren’t as vicious as many people had come to believe.

Perhaps one reason why gorillas can develop relationships with humans is because they share over 98% of their genetic code with us. In fact, gorillas are almost as closely related to humans as chimpanzees. In addition, some experts claim that gorillas can recognize familiar human voices and may associate memories with these voices. Furthermore, gorillas and other apes have been known to participate in sign language or gestures as a means of communication with humans. These factors combine to help us understand why gorillas may develop relationships and communication methods with humans.

Could a Human Defeat a Gorilla Barehanded?

Adult alpha male gorilla yawns irritably, showing dangerous fangs and teeth. Dominant male gorilla yawns with his mouth open.

If a human were to actually enter into a barehanded fight with a gorilla, he’d likely lose.

How likely would it be for a human to defeat a gorilla if an attack occurred? You’d need to compare the two on multiple levels. For instance, the average weight of a human is 130-199 lbs, while a gorilla’s average weight is 220-440 lbs. In height, a human stands taller at 5’3” to 5’9” vs a gorilla at 4.4 to 5.1 feet tall.

Humans can run at a top speed of 27.5 mph for a short distance, while gorillas can run 25 mph, but are more agile through their knucklewalking. In combat, humans can deliver kicks, punches, strangleholds, and bites comparable to canine force. However, gorillas can lift up to 1,800 lbs, deliver stronger open-handed punches, and deliver terrible bites with a bite force of 1,300 PSI. Their sharp fangs can tear flesh.

Humans would have an edge with intelligence, maneuvering skills, and a keen sense of sight and hearing, while gorillas could be scared away with tactics of intimidation, but have a keen sense of smell and tough skin that’s hard to puncture. Given these comparisons, it’s safe to say that a gorilla could overpower and kill a human if it really wanted to.


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About the Author

Eliana Riley is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on geography, travel, and landmarks. Eliana is a second-year student at Miami University majoring in English Education and Spanish. A resident of Tennessee and Ohio, Eliana enjoys traveling to national and state parks, hiking, kayaking, and camping.

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