Gorillas are the powerhouses of the ape and primate family. They are ferocious, ridiculously muscular, and proud but also gentle and intelligent, which makes them really interesting to observe.
There are 4 species of gorillas, each varying in strength, appearance, and size, with the Eastern Lowland Gorilla being the largest. Want to know just how strong are gorillas compared to you? If you don’t already know, the true scale of their power will be a real eye-opener.
How Strong Are Gorillas
How strong are gorillas varies a bit from species to species? There are 2 major species of gorillas, namely the Eastern and the Western. Although they can each be further subcategorized into 2 more species.
• Mountain Gorilla (also referred to as Silverback)
• Eastern Lowland Gorilla
• Cross River Gorilla
• Western Lowland Gorilla
A male adult gorilla can weigh anywhere between 300 and 500 pounds and exert physical strength that is, on average, 6 times greater than the best a human being could achieve through intensive training.
Despite their weight, gorillas can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. An average person can run at 15 to 17 mph, although with training it might be possible for a human to outrun a gorilla. The fastest runner in the world today, Usain Bolt, clocked in at a record 27.78mph.
If that’s not enough to scare you, they also have one of the strongest bites in the animal kingdom. A gorilla’s bite exerts about 1,300 pounds per square inch. For comparison, a lion’s bite force is 650 per square inch, which is only half that of a gorilla.
Clearly, gorillas are definitely not to be trifled with.
Why Are Gorillas So Strong?
The wild is ruthless to the weak. It’s not hard to imagine how a life of constantly warding off danger, carrying around thrice as much in body weight compared to humans, and swinging from branch to branch can make you much stronger than a city dweller.
Geneticists believe the source of gorillas’ strength lies in the years of evolution it took for them to adapt to the harsh environment of the jungle. Years of having to fight predators, walk on all fours, and swing on branches have resulted in their acquiring a powerful skeletal and muscular structure.
But that’s not it. Gorillas also developed the ability to digest cellulose and convert it into omega-3 fatty acids, something the human digestive system is incapable of. This extends the dietary range of things a gorilla can eat to survive. Their unique digestive system helps them derive more protein from their foods, which is essential for building or strengthening muscle tissue.
How Powerful Is a Gorilla’s Punch?
Although this hasn’t been tested in a controlled experiment, one can rely on a combination of testimonies of run-ins with the primate and speculations.
A full-powered punch from a gorilla would probably shatter your skull in one swing. To most people, that is instant death. Estimates suggest the pounds of force to be between 1300 and 2700. Your skull has a tolerance of 520 pounds before it cracks.
Gorilla Gut Size and Diet
Did you know that a gorilla’s stomach is larger than its chest? The large size of their intestines can be attributed to the fact that their diets often consist of bulky fibrous vegetation.
Wild gorillas for the most part stick to a vegetarian diet consisting of leaves, bamboo shoots, and fruits that are high in sugars. Many zoologists believe this to be the reason that their demeanor towards humans is usually non-aggressive until they believe their personal safety is threatened or their territory is being encroached upon.
However, gorillas are not strictly herbivorous. Some Zoo specimens are actually fed meat. Wild gorillas, on the other hand, have never been seen consuming meat but can be found eating insects such as ants. Ants actually make really nutritious meals, even for humans. They are troves of essential nutrients and fats.
Gorillas Vs Humans
The average adult gorilla outclasses the best boxers, wrestlers, or MMA fighters humanity can put up. Humans have evolved over time to rely more on their minds and strategy rather than on brute strength for their survival.
If you ever find yourself face to face with a gorilla, be it in the wild or in a zoo, the first thing you need to recognize is that, as far as the gorilla is concerned, you are on their turf.
But unlike chimpanzees or baboons, gorillas do not attack anyone they don’t deem to be a threat. Although look them in the eye or try to get too close, and they can snap your neck back or bite your fingers off with minimal effort. So it is unwise to try and pick a fight with a gorilla.
Can A Human Fight A Gorilla?
In one-on-one hand-to-hand combat, unfortunately, you don’t stand a chance against a gorilla. It is physically the strongest of all primates. Lions and tigers in the wild have a hard time taking down gorillas. Even if you manage to land your hit first, with their dense bodies, it is unlikely they’ll experience much pain.
Even if you have the numbers on your side, your chances are still pretty slim. A single gorilla has the strength of 10 humans, so even if 10 of you manage to gang up on it at once, which is unlikely in the wild, you’re still going to lose.
The odds change, however, when you bring training and weapons into the picture. A group of heavily trained humans with peak physical fitness, strength, and the aid of weapons such as sticks or spears could stand a chance. Otherwise, you’d need a gun and a couple of bullets.
A Few Parting Words
How strong are gorillas? The strongest primate in existence, by a landslide.
Although, despite their superior strength and agility, gorillas rarely ever mean any harm to humans. They are intelligent enough to assess what is and isn’t a threat. As long as you maintain a safe distance and avoid eye contact, they won’t try to harm you.
Due to human activities such as habitat destruction for land and hunting, many species of gorillas have become heavily endangered. It is human beings that present the greatest danger to a gorilla.