Gorillas vs Chimpanzees

Gorillas vs Chimpanzees – What’s the Difference & Similarities?

Gorillas vs Chimpanzees Who would win? – What are the similarities/difference between gorillas and chimpanzees – Gorillas and Chimpanzees are great apes and a comparison of gorillas vs chimpanzees gives a better understanding of the two. Both Gorillas and Chimpanzees live both in captivity and in their natural habitat. However, Chimpanzees can survive much better in captivity compared to Gorillas, especially mountain gorillas.

Clients on Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Brief About Gorillas

Gorillas are the largest living primates. They are ground-dwelling herbivorous apes inhabiting the Central Sub-Saharan Africa forests. Genus Gorilla has two species and these are the Eastern Gorillas and western Gorillas unfortunately both species are endangered. From the two species are derived four subspecies which are the;

  • Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) and the Eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) for the Eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei) specie.
  • Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla) and the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli) for the Western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) specie.
what do gorillas eat


Brief about Chimpanzees

Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park

The Chimpanzee (Pan Troglodytes) also known as the common chimpanzee or simply chimp is a species of the Great Ape. Chimpanzees are native to the forests and African savannahs. Classified in the genus Pan, fossils and DNA sequencing show that they are under a sister taxon to the human lineage. This makes chimpanzees humans’ closest relatives. Chimpanzees live in groups ranging from 15 to 150 members in number.

Chimpanzee trekking tour in Uganda


Gorillas vs Chimpanzees: What is the difference between gorilla and chimpanzee

Gorillas and Chimpanzees are both apes thought to have a lot in common or differences and this is why there are several questions asked about them. Here are some of the frequently asked questions on Gorillas vs chimpanzees;

The Differences between gorilla and chimpanzee

Are Gorillas and Chimpanzees the same?

Obviously, Gorillas and Chimpanzees are not the same. Here are some of the similarities and differences between Gorillas and Chimpanzees;

  • Chimpanzees are covered in coarse black hair, with a bare face, palms of the hand, and soles of the feet, fingers, and toes.
  • Gorillas have generally dark bodies with the mountain gorillas being the darkest of them all. The adult male Gorillas have a silver line of hair on their backs. Western Lowland Gorillas can be brown or grayish with a reddish forehead.
  • Both the Gorillas and Chimpanzees are subspecies of the great apes but vary in weight.
  • Chimpanzees weigh about 40-60 kg for males and 27-50 kg for females whereas Wild gorillas weigh about 136-195 kg for adult males and adult females about 68 -113 kg.
  • This means the Gorillas are much larger than the chimpanzees.
  • The standing height of Chimpanzees is about 3.3 to 4.6 ft whereas that of a male Gorilla is 1.4 ft to 5 ft tall. Female Gorillas are shorter and from 4 ft 1 to 4 ft 11 in.
  • Both Gorillas and Chimpanzees move by knuckle-walking (all fours) and at times walk bipedally (upright) for short distances. Chimpanzees can also move quite efficiently in the trees where they do their eating, wild gorillas can climb trees too. Mountain Gorillas are known to use other parts of their hands for walking including using the backs of their hand and using their palms.
  • Gorillas have larger head crests, jaws, limbs, and thicker bones with less flexible feet and hands. Chimpanzees on the other hand have more slender hands and feet with larger thumbs.
  • Chimpanzees have less sexual dimorphism than gorillas.
  • Chimps have proportionately larger brains and are slightly more intelligent than gorillas on average. The world’s most intelligent chimpanzee is known as Natasha found in the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda.  She recently gave birth to a baby girl and can be visited on Uganda safari in just a day tour.
  • In a gorilla family, the silverback gorilla (who is an older male with silver hair on the back) is the head of the family and in most cases the only adult female in the group. The chimpanzee, group has many males and females while having multiple breeding partners.
  • Both female chimps and gorillas leave the group to avoid inbreeding. Female gorillas could also leave if they feel unprotected by the male especially if the silverback is weak and cannot protect the family well.
  • Gorillas are mostly herbivorous whereas chimpanzees are frugivorous. Gorillas eat mainly leaves, nettles, some roots, stems, and fruit in smaller quantities. They spend much of their day foraging and do not eat meat but eat termites at times. Chimps eat insects and meat from bushbabies and monkeys. They also eat fruit for extra energy.
  • Both Gorillas and Chimps can nest in trees, however, gorillas climb less due to their weight. They both also nest on the ground. When portraying aggression gorillas charge and beat their chests whereas chimpanzees kick trees and scream. When these show aggression, you must follow guidelines to avoid getting hurt because they are wild animals.
  • Chimpanzees’ use of tools is more advanced than that of the gorillas. Chimpanzees can be seen using stones to scare away baboons, making simple spears, and sticking to fish termites. Gorillas can also use sticks to fish for termites.

Which Ape is more Dangerous – Gorillas vs Chimpanzees?

Which Ape is more dangerous, a Gorilla or a Chimpanzee? – Both Chimpanzees and Gorillas are wild animals that can be tamed to be familiar with human presence. Gorillas are not likely to attack humans and in fact, there is no evidence of an aggressive attack on humans by gorillas. However, they could attack when their babies are under threat of being attacked by poachers. Their intent is always to keep the infant safe and not to maul a human.

In any instance, if a gorilla charges, during a Gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda Gorilla tour, or any other encounter with the gorillas, stand still and avoid looking the gorilla directly in the eye. The Gorillas will see you as non-dangerous and will move away.

Chimpanzees are on the other hand unpredictable. During the adolescence stage which is about six or seven the chimps are no longer cute and fun but a bundle of raging testosterone. They can attack and when they do so they will bite with fierce canine teeth which exert 20 times more force when biting than a human.

If you are wondering which one is dangerous, both are. However, Gorillas are stronger but less likely to attack, unlike the chimpanzees that can easily bite your face and pull off your skill in just minutes.

When you want to trek either Gorillas or Chimpanzees, ensure they are habituated or tamed, any of these untamed can be dangerous. In our safari destinations, there are several groups of tamed Gorillas and Chimpanzees.

Book a Gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, Rwanda, or Congo to have an experience of a lifetime and learn more about the mountain Gorillas as well as the Lowland Gorillas. The playful chimpanzees can be seen in all of our safari destinations but a perfect trek could be during Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda, Rwanda Chimpanzee trekking, or Tanzania.

Sharon Amagoro
Sharon Amagoro
Hey! I'm Sharon, a Co-founder of Kabira Safaris & Tours Ltd. I love helping travelers world over realize their dream safaris and do this with accordance to the values of Kabira Safaris. I will help you customize your trip to all of our service destinations working along with other experts and service providers.
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