Wildlife Photographer Gets an Unbelievably Close View of a Gorilla That Gets Inches From the Camera

Jurgen Vogt/Shutterstock.com

Written by Sharon Parry

Published: October 28, 2023

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This is about as close to a gorilla as it’s possible to get! The extraordinary footage was captured in Rwanda and shows a huge mountain gorilla getting extremely close to the camera and some human visitors. Not only do we get to see in detail how amazing these animals are, but we also get to hear the extraordinary noises that they can make. It truly is a privilege to get this close to the gentle giants of the primate world.

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The scientific name for mountain gorillas is Gorilla berengei berengei and they are a subspecies of the eastern gorilla. The other subspecies is the eastern lowland gorilla which is also called the Grauer’s gorilla. The two subspecies live in different geographical areas and do not tend to interbreed.

They belong to the same family (Hominidae) as chimpanzees and humans. They share around 98.4 percent of our DNA. Our common ancestors existed until around nine or 10 million years ago. Every gorilla has a uniquely shaped and patterned nose in the same way as every human has a different fingerprint.

Where Do Mountain Gorillas Normally Live?

Mountain gorillas in the rainforest. Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. An excellent illustration.

Gorillas live in forests.

Mountain gorillas are found in the Virunga volcanic region that separates Rwanda and Uganda from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They live in montane cloud forests that can sometimes be spotted in afro-alpine meadows.

What Noises Do Gorillas Make?

Gorillas are social animals who live in groups and communicate with each other in several ways. The scientific word for making noises is vocalization. Gorillas make quite a lot of noises as you can hear in the above clip!

The particular vocalization that you can hear in this footage is usually described as a ‘belch’. It is a deep rumble that sounds a bit like a soft human belching sound. It also sounds a little as if the primate is clearing its throat. Experts believe that this sound shows that the gorilla is happy and it is often used by silverbacks when they are communicating with the rest of the group.

Gorillas can also make chuckling sounds! You often hear these when they are playing which often includes tickling, chasing, and wrestling each other. Gorillas have a ‘play face’ that accompanies their chuckles. This is where their mouth hangs open but they do not show their teeth!

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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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