Do gorillas eat meat?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Do gorillas eat meat?” We will also discuss when gorillas eat meat, whether they eat dead and decaying matter or not, and what their diet mainly consists of. Moreover, we will also answer whether they have natural predators.

Do gorillas eat meat?

Gorillas mostly eat a vegetarian diet including stems, leaves, flowers, bamboo shoots, and fruits but they also eat some meat. Since gorillas are omnivores, their diet consists of both plants and animals (plants being the primary feed). 

In the wild, gorillas are mostly considered herbivores due to their affinity for a vegetarian diet. However, when they are captive in a place like a zoo, they also feed on meat. They have an even broader diet when they are not in their wild habitat. Likewise, Western lowland gorillas also have an appetite for termites, ants, and different insects.

When do gorillas eat meat?

Gorillas eat meat only on rare occasions like when plant food is scarce or when they come upon a weak animal or a fresh carcass. Furthermore, they also devour insects such as termites.

Although gorillas are known to be omnivores, they do not aggressively hunt and would never attack larger mammals for food. 

They mainly just stick to their vegetarian diet and only eat meat when they absolutely have to. For example, when they are held captive at a zoo, they have no choice but to eat what they are given whether it is vegetables or meat. Also, a few species like the Western lowland gorillas have an appetite for termites and ants.

Although gorillas are well qualified to be powerful predators at the top of their game due to their size, weight, and canine teeth, they do not often hunt for meat and may instead rely on opportunistic scavenging, taking advantage of any available carcasses.

In case you’re wondering that gorillas do not eat meat because of their physical characteristics, that’s not true at all. Physically, gorillas are more than capable of eating meat with their strong teeth and senses. However, they are just naturally more inclined towards the vegetarian diet.

Do gorillas eat dead and decaying matter?

No, gorillas do not eat dead or decaying matter. The bacteria in the gorilla’s stomach play a crucial role in digestion, and these bacterias are not optimized for meat or carcass digestion but are much better at digesting plant material.

They do, however, consume dead plants in the form of fruit and leaves on occasion. This aids in the reuse of plant nutrients, which would otherwise have to go through the slow process of breakdown by microorganisms on their own. A gorilla accelerates this process by eating dead plants and returning part of the raw nutrients to the environment through its excrement.

What do the gorillas mainly eat?

Gorillas mostly eat a vegetarian diet that consists of leaves from trees such as figs and bamboo, bark, shoots, and fruits. They also sometimes eat termites that they fish out of termite mounds using sticks. Likewise, gorillas may also consume soil invertebrates such as worms and grubs, as well as, on rare occasions, animals like lizards, tiny snakes, and bird eggs. 

Plants provide plenty of protein for gorillas; they simply have to eat a lot of them. A typical adult male gorilla consumes 18 kg of plants every day. They have a huge appetite for plants which helps them to maintain their large body and strength.

Do gorillas have natural predators?

Yes, gorillas have predators such as leopards and hyenas. Pythons may also attack and devour gorillas by wrapping themselves around them and restricting their respiration until the gorilla suffocates.

However, other gorillas are frequently the greatest threat to a giant gorilla since they will ruthlessly fight each other for power and to remain at the top of the social hierarchy. This only shows that the system of social hierarchy is just as prevalent in the wild habitat among the different animals as it is in human society.

Likewise, human poachers also hunt and kill gorillas in the rainforest for different purposes. One of the main reasons for hunting gorillas is to eat or sell their meat (also called bushmeat) to city dwellers.


In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “Do gorillas eat meat?” We have also discussed when gorillas eat meat, whether they eat dead and decaying matter or not, and what their diet mainly consists of. Moreover, we have also answered whether they have natural predators.