Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

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GORILLA: Calmness and Strength

When people were first introduced to Gorillas, they believed that these primates were fiercesome monsters. King Kong symbolized people’s fear of this mammal. Since Gorillas live in the most inaccessible regions of the forests and mountains of Africa, They were the last members of the Great Ape Family to be found. Therefore, ordinary people had no ideas about what real Gorillas were like.

The largest and most powerful of all living Primates, Gorilla is actually peaceful and sociable. His easy-going nature has made it possible for several groups of Gorillas to coexist peacefully in the same region. When a strange Gorilla appears, the eldest Gorilla (Silverback) hoots excitedly, building up to an ear splitting roar. Silverback Gorilla will charge but stops short of touching the intruder. This will usually frighten the other Gorilla away.

Within His Troop, Gorilla forms a strong attachment with everyone. The strongest and most mature male – the Silverback – rules the Troop. He decides where they will eat and sleep. He is responsible for their safety and closely guards them. If Silverback Gorilla sees the Troop in any kind of danger, He will fight to protect them.

A plant eater, Gorilla especially likes bamboo shoots. Contrary to the movies, He is not a carnivore. After a day of foraging for plants on the ground, Gorilla spends the night in a tree. Nest making is simple; He rips off several branches and places them in tree nooks for a bed. Gorilla’s typical day consists of eating in the morning and evening, traveling during the day, napping in the afternoon, traveling, and then making his nest for the night.

Being very calm, Gorilla is not easily bothered. In fact, social grooming can relax Him into going into a trance. Gorilla shows interest by doing a task for its own reward. Most intelligent of the (nonhuman) Great Apes, He knows and uses language, when taught. Zoologists think that Gorilla has self-awareness like a human does.

Gorilla teaches calmness and strength. Remaining serene, He goes about his affairs. Even when a strange Gorilla shows up, He will not immediately attack. Taking control of the situation, Gorilla will state his position firmly but forcefully. As a last resort, He will attack. Learn from Gorilla how to act calmly and effectively. And keep your aggressive impulses in check.


1. Gorillas are endangered throughout most of their range.

2. The Ape Family is really comprised of two families, the Great Apes (Hominidae) and the Lesser Apes (Hylobatidae). Lesser Apes are the gibbons. Among the Great Apes are gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, and humans.

3. Zoologists divide gorillas into two groups – lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) and mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei). Lowland gorillas live in the dense forests of Africa. Meanwhile mountain gorillas live in the mountains of Central Africa. The difference between the two is that lowland gorillas have short hair and weigh less.

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Virginia Carper, a Roman Polytheist, lives in the Washington D.C. area with her family. She navigates life with a traumatic brain injury which gives her a different view on life. An avid naturalist since childhood, she has a blog called “Nature’s Observations.” Having experienced the animals directly, she teaches on-line classes about the spiritual and natural aspect of animals. She has published articles on her brain injury, Roman polytheism, and working with extinct animals. In addition her writings on animals (including dragons and other mythic creatures) can be purchased her book site, Animal Teachers.  


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