When we talk about a mother’s love, we just don’t talk about human mothers
No language can express the power and beauty and heroism of a mother’s love. In the animal kingdom, we would be able to see equally amazing and loving mothers. The big picture is that we’re perhaps 98 percent identical in our sequences to gorillas. It’s not only in the physical form that we’re similar. Gorilla mothers are also known to exhibit human-like traits when it comes to their children. Gorilla mothers have a strong bond with their babies. They take care of their children in their first few years, providing shelter, food, protection, and of course, love.
How Do Gorillas Mate?
Well this is a question that leaves many wildlife enthusiasts scratching their heads. Mating can be done all year round with the dominant male silverback mating all the females while they are ovulating.
The mating processing is normally initiated by the female when it is sexually active however there are instances when the dominant silverback male also imitates this process. He does so by advancing towards the female and then he touches her or makes a display with a sound. When the female doesn’t respond positively, he may not take that rejection well and instead charge while slapping the female as he forces her to accept. Mating is done while both gorillas are on the ground with the female appearing to kneel on the ground while the male is on top throughout the copulation.
However, a number of gorilla subspecies like the mountain gorilla and the lowland gorillas have on several occasions been observed mating while the male and female are facing each other a technique once believed to be unique among the human species and the bonobos.
Giving Birth And Parenthood
Once the mating is successful and the female conceives, she will experience an 8.5 month gestation period and only give birth again after approximately four years. During the pregnancy, she will have a slight increase in breast size and also develop a bump on her tummy that is not very pronounced. They normally give birth in the morning hours and this is preceded by her appearing uneasy with continuous babies and only stretching and loss of appetite. Throughout her life, a female gorilla may give birth to only 6 to 8 babies but just a few of these will be able to survive to maturity as caretaking is totally done by the females.
The Silverback male on the other hand has a major role of making sure that the babies are accepted within the gorilla group and not bullied by other group members and for that reason for the first 5 months of the mother lives close to him for protection.
Breastfeeding And Weaning Among Gorillas
For the first four months, the infant is carried around by the mother in her hands as he/she suckles directly every three hours on the mother’s breasts. By the fifth month, the infants have begun gaining confidence among the group members so they ride on the mother’s back and occasionally lay on the ground close by to their mothers. By 12 months, the baby gorilla has attained enough confidence to move as far as five meters away from the mother during brief intervals.
Weaning among the gorillas normally takes place when the baby is about 2.5 years old. Nonetheless, the baby gorilla will continue to breastfeed until they are about four years old, however, when they stop doing so, they begin making their own nests and live independent of the mother, while the mother starts all over again to ovulate.
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Video resource: Reproduction Live TV