Silverback Charges Children at the Zoo, And Breaks The Protective Glass

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Written by Angie Menjivar

Updated: November 10, 2023

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Western lowland gorilla
© Philippe Clement/

Key Points

  • This video shows a gorilla charging children at a zoo.
  • Gorillas are wild animals and can become aggressive under certain circumstances.
  • Although Gorillas can become aggressive, it isn’t common behavior for them.

A zoo is an unusual place—one where wild animals and tiny humans are separated by glass. It’s where two worlds collide in a way unlike they ever could in a natural environment.

But sometimes, we’re reminded of just how thin that separation can be, and how powerful these animals truly are.

The video starts with an adult male silverback gorilla facing away from the camera, with two front arms with tight fists against the grass, and his attention off to the left. Children can be heard murmuring excitedly when a man’s voice comes through and says, “I think he’s about to do something crazy.”

Well, sir, turns out you’re right! Just give it a minute.

The gorilla then turns his attention over to his right, where he can presumably see the humans gawking at him from the other side of the glass. He takes a seat, his back legs spread, arms still hanging down in front of him with his fists supporting his weight.

Silverbacks Fight

Gorillas can become aggressive under certain circumstances


He seems relaxed as he looks over to his left and to his right again before walking off, away from the person holding the camera. As the silverback loses interest, the man pans the camera to another part of the enclosure, where two other gorillas can be seen in front of a circular window.

The man behind the camera jokes that the other gorillas are “picking their boogers,” as onlookers, including children, giggle at his comment. He walks around to another window and a woman along with two young kids is seen smiling, enjoying the rare sight.

In the background, the gorilla can be seen looking off into another window, where other zoo-goers are taking their turns looking in on the gorillas.

Suddenly, the silverback turns back toward where the man had been standing and charges toward the glass. There is no one standing there, and the man exclaims in surprise with an “Oh!” before nervously laughing for a moment.

The gorilla charged but didn’t touch the glass. He just made a swift right turn as he approached.

The man continues recording the silverback as he stares off into the distance. He keeps recording as the silverback walks away, toward a large rock surrounded by shrubs.

The silverback takes a look back as if to confirm where his fans are located and stand atop the slightly slanted hill. Another gorilla can be seen walking in from the left, just a few feet from the glass.

This second gorilla stands close and the reflection of one of the children can be seen just against the dark fur. The child mimics gorilla behavior with chest pounding, and giggling at the awe-inspiring sight.

Without making eye contact, the gorilla in the back starts to run toward the onlookers at a startling speed that’s hard for the cameraman to even capture.

A male silverback mountain gorilla in the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Gorillas are generally calm and docile unless they feel threatened

©Jurgen Vogt/

Before you know it, the silverback hurls himself onto the glass, fists up and with intention. Immediately the glass cracks and threatens to break. Who knows how many more hits it would have taken for the gorilla to come careening through?

The cameraman yells “Oh, man!” and can be seen running away, ushering the children through double doors.

Relieved, nervous laughter ensues from the families behind the glass once they realize they’re safe.

Is it Normal for Gorillas to Be Aggressive with Children?

Silver back male of eastern gorilla in rain forest.

Silver back male of eastern gorilla in rain forest.

©Krasnova Ekaterina/

The simple answer here is no, however, Gorillas are wild animals and can become aggressive under certain circumstances. Such as when a silverback gorilla feels threatened or when another male from a different group attempts to steal a female.

Gorillas will generally attempt to warn off intruders by making loud noises and grunts. He may even tear down or break vegetation to make his point. Although Gorillas in Zoos may seem more aggressive, these animals have greatly misunderstood creatures.

Other Amazing Animal Videos You Might Like

In this video, you see a lion perched on a tree. The lion almost looks like a cat cornered by a dog, however, these buffalos are not playing around.

The lion is feared into the tree because this herd is defending itself. While it’s not necessarily common for lions to be scared of buffalo, any animal who isn’t used to taking on more than a few of those beasts at a time may get cornered.

While towards the end, it almost seems they are playing a game, it’s clear that the lion isn’t hungry enough to try and take down a buffalo from this herd.

In fact, one of the most dangerous creatures in Africa is the African buffalo, also known as the Cape buffalo, which is recognized for its ability to defend itself against predators such as lions.

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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