Watch This Huge Silverback Gorilla Go Airborne and Try Break Through the Zoo’s Glass

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Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: November 10, 2023

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© Jurgen Vogt/

Key Points:

  • This article covers footage captured of a gorilla taking a flying leap into a glass window!
  • While he may or may not have been displaying signs of aggression, the lady in the bright pink sweater in the video got quite a startle three times.
  • At first glance, you may feel sad for the enclosed animal, but the zoo’s enclosure includes a vast amount of structures providing plenty of enrichment for the mammal.

It’s hard to know what is going through this gorilla’s mind. Is he being playful? Is he being aggressive? Is he just curious? Whatever is going on, it’s a good job that there is a thick pane of glass between the animal and the humans otherwise there would have been some serious injuries!

Gorilla Bouncing off the Glass

From the commentary on this video, it sounds as if the family who captured this footage are frequent visitors to Omaha Zoo. The zoo has created the Hubbard Gorilla Valley, which has allowed them to become a major partner in gorilla conservation.

The gorilla enclosure includes some complex climbing structures and tree limbs providing plenty of enrichment opportunities. This allows the gorillas to investigate and forage and gives them a chance to use their problem-solving skills as they would in the wild. There are also waterfalls and streams to provide constant movement in the environment.

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There are windows at eye level so you come literally face-to-face with the gorillas. When the lady in the bright pink sweatshirt turned her back on the gorilla, it was as if he was trying to get her attention by taking a flying leap at the glass. Three times!

Gorillas Living in the Wild

Silverback intimidate his own reflection

Gorillas are mainly vegetarian.

©Andreas Rose/

Gorillas are the biggest primate in the world and share 98 percent of their DNA with us humans. There are actually four different subspecies of gorillas. Silverback is not the name of a subspecies. It is a way of describing adult, male gorillas that from 12 years old develop a silver section of hair over their back and hips.

These amazing animals are not violent or aggressive most of the time, in fact, they are quite shy.

Even though they are four times as strong as a human and can bend an iron bar with their bare hands, they are mainly vegetarian (although some eat insects). They like to eat leaves, bamboo shoots, and fruit. These animals can eat as much as 40 pounds of plant matter per day!

Their diet changes with the season and they use their dexterous hands to pick up what they need. You can see the gorilla in this video doing exactly this.

Is This Normal Gorilla Behavior?

Silverbacks Fight

Male gorillas are known to display to one another and they use the glass to pound on because of the noise it emits.


There are quite a number of instances where gorillas will bang on the glass in their enclosures and even some instances where they have cracked and broken the glass. Male gorillas, like the silverback shown in the video, are known to display to one another and one reason for the glass pounding is thought to be because they like the noise it emits. It is speculated that another reason for hitting the glass is simply because they do not wish to be in an enclosure where they can’t escape and people tap on the glass.

Gorillas, in general, are not particularly violent and are thought of as rather calm animals. However, when they feel threatened they will defend themselves with their incredible strength. In the wild, they are able to move or relocate due to a threat but in captivity, they don’t have anywhere to escape to and can become more stressed and agitated. This is normal behavior for captive gorillas.

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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