What Color Are Gorillas

Key Takeaway:

  • Gorillas can have different shades of fur, ranging from brownish-black to silver/gray to black, depending on the species and subspecies.
  • The natural color of gorillas is determined by pigmentation and genetics, but environmental factors such as habitat destruction and diet can also affect their color.
  • Different hues of gorilla color are found in various regions, including Congo, Gabon, Angola, Uganda, and Rwanda.

Natural Color of Gorillas

Natural Color Of Gorillas  - What Color Are Gorillas,

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Gorillas have natural colors! To learn more, check out their pigmentation, fur or coat color, pelage color or fur shades. Mountain gorillas are different from Eastern and Western Lowland gorillas. Even Cross River gorillas have their own color traits. Get to know more about these primates’ colors!

Mountain Gorillas

Mountain Gorillas, a species of gorilla found only in the high altitude forests of Central and East Africa, have a distinct natural color. Their fur is primarily black with shades of dark brown. However, as they age, their hair begins to thin out and turn silver or gray on their back and legs.

One factor affecting Mountain Gorilla color is genetics. Different genetic variations can cause variations in coloration within individuals of the same subspecies. Health and diet also play a role in the richness and vibrancy of their fur.

Additionally, environmental factors such as sun exposure may alter the hue of gorilla color. While prolonged sun exposure may lead to bleaching of their hair, dust and mud will sometimes darken it.

Overall, mountain gorilla color ranges from a rich brown shade to silver or gray as they age. A unique characteristic of mountain gorillas is that they are predominantly black-colored with little contrast between skin and fur when compared to other subspecies.

Interestingly, there is one research-backed story regarding mountain gorilla coloration that has gained popularity among scientists: scientist Dian Fossey wrote about witnessing one silverback making all decisions for his group before she studied the group dynamics further elsewhere.

Why settle for one shade when nature offers you both a Western and Eastern lowland gorilla in different hues of fur?

Western and Eastern Lowland Gorillas

Gorilla Subspecies with differing range and habitat, of Africa, show unique fur color characteristics. The Western and Eastern Lowland gorilla species are known for their distinct shades of fur color. Western gorillas’ color ranges from light brown to reddish-brown to black, while Eastern gorillas’ course fur is mainly black or dark gray in color. The distinguished glossy shine on each hair strand intensifies the colors giving it a luminous look.

The difference in the jungle canopy between these subspecies may be the reason for their contrasting fur color. As Western gorillas are found in dense forests with higher sunlight penetration, their lighter coat provides better camouflage against the ground contrasts. In contrast, Eastern gorillas reside in mountainous regions with limited forest cover and minimal sunlight penetration, making their darker coat an excellent hiding mechanism from predators.

It’s notable that although both Lowland Gorilla species have separate DNA strands and different distribution areas across Central Africa, at times, there are some overlapped geographical habitats between both types; genetic mixing results in hybridized-colored coats.

Experts suggest climate change and deforestation as a considerable environmental impact that may result in endangered variations among the populations of these mammals. So efforts must be taken at the community and governmental level to preserve their population and sustain our ecosystem.

Why be beige when you can be a majestic mix of brown and silver? Cross River gorillas know how to rock a unique color palette.

Cross River Gorillas

The Cross River gorilla, found in Nigeria and Cameroon, is one of the rarest and most endangered species of gorillas globally. They are a sub-species of the Western Lowland Gorilla, with a unique appearance that differentiates them from other species. The Cross River gorilla color is similar to that of its counterparts.

These animals have shorter hair compared to Eastern or Western Lowland Gorillas, but their hair has a silky texture that appears almost golden or reddish-brown under direct sunlight. Their fur color often appears dark brown to black, but some individuals may have silver hues on their backsides. Overall, the exact shade depends on factors like age, genetics, diet, and habitat.

Interestingly enough, the diet of the Cross River Gorilla might affect its appearance due to maternal milk’s composition and hair growth rate influenced by dietary protein levels. These mammals are found in tropical rainforests where their habitat loss is considerably affecting their population size.

To protect these critically endangered animals’ dwindling numbers, various conservation programs seek illegal poaching operations disruption and forest habitat protection investment. Additionally, building stronger protections for national reserves will help promote sustainable conservation efforts for Cross-River Gorillas.

Why settle for a plain brown gorilla when you could have a rainbow of pigments and genetics creating their unique hues?

Factors Affecting Gorilla Color

Factors Affecting Gorilla Color  - What Color Are Gorillas,

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Gorillas have different colors – why? To understand, consider factors that affect their coloration. Keywords such as gorilla genetics, melanin, pigments and evolution offer some solutions. Also, learn more about how age, health, diet and genetics affect gorilla color when you explore the sub-sections.


Gorilla color can be influenced by various factors, including aging gorillas. As gorillas age, their hair may turn gray or silver due to the loss of melanin. The texture of their hair may also change, becoming coarser and thicker. The aging process may also lead to a more prominent brow ridge and sagging skin around the jawline.

Furthermore, aging gorillas may experience health issues that affect their overall appearance. Poor diet or illnesses can cause malnourishment and hair loss. Genetics can also play a role in how quickly gorillas age and what color their hair turns.

Interestingly, some studies suggest that environmental factors such as sunlight exposure could speed up the graying process in aging gorillas. In areas with high UV exposure, such as mountainous regions, gorillas may turn silver or gray earlier than those living in denser forests.

Overall, aging is a natural process that impacts the color and appearance of gorillas in unique ways. As they age, they develop distinct features that make them stand out from younger members of their group.

(Source: National Geographic)

Eating healthy might make you feel good, but for gorillas, it’s their natural color that shows off their diet.

Health and Diet

Gorilla well-being, including diet and health, plays a vital role in determining their coloration. Their diet of leaves, stems, fruit and grubs is rich in nutrients such as carotenoids, which not only contribute to their general health but also affect their overall coloring. Furthermore, healthy gorillas tend to have shiny coats that retain their natural vibrancy, whereas ill or undernourished gorillas’ coats can thin out or turn dull.

  • Gorilla diet: Gorillas obtain most of their nutrition by eating foliage, with specific plants varying between species and populations. For instance, Mountain gorillas feed primarily on bamboo shoots while Eastern Lowland and Grauer’s gorillas eat a lot of fruit.
  • Gorilla health: Gorilla populations are especially susceptible to disease due in part to the animal’s high degree of exposure to pathogens from human settlements or other animals. The impact on their diets cannot be overstated since it directly affects body growth and pigmentation.

Advanced genetic coding can also play a role in determining gorilla coloration because within each population there are genes that exclusively code for certain hues or color variations. Studies show that lowland gorillas with fair skin might carry mutations linked to simple albinism.

It’s fascinating how several factors interact with one another when it comes to determining the color of these majestic creatures. According to research published in Scientific Reports back in 2017, different environmental factors like sun exposure can impact fur pigmentation even among individuals living in the same region at the same period.

Gorilla is an African Jungle animal that can only be located around Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Congo (DRC) and Central Africa Republic (CAR). Gorilla genetics determine more than just their color, they also distinguish different subspecies.


Gorilla genetics play a significant role in their subspecies coloration. Each subspecies has distinct genetic variations that determine their fur’s pigmentation, such as the Mountain gorillas’ black fur or the Western Lowland gorillas’ brown. These genetic variations are responsible for creating unique hues and tones within each subspecies.

The color difference is due to different genes being expressed, causing variation in melanin production and distribution. Some genes dictate how much eumelanin or phaeomelanin is produced, while others impact the distribution of pigment within the hair shaft. For example, mutations in MC1R gene can cause reduced eumelanin production resulting in silver-color hair.

Additionally, studies suggest that specific genes influence an individual’s susceptibility to UV radiation resulting from exposure to sunlight. This factor can cause variation in skin pigmentation leading to a change in coloration.

Pro Tip: Gorilla genetics offer an exciting insight into their distinctive coloring patterns and provide meaningful information regarding conservation efforts for each subspecies. By understanding these genetic variations, conservationists can identify populations vulnerable to external factors such as climate change and habitat loss and design strategies to protect them accordingly. Gorillas adapt to their environment so well that even their color changes, but we hope they don’t adapt to our destruction of their habitats.

Environmental Influence on Gorilla Color

Environmental Influence On Gorilla Color  - What Color Are Gorillas,

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Gorilla coloration is influenced by their environment. Gorillas in darker, heavily forested habitats tend to have darker fur compared to those in lighter, more open habitats. This is due to the need for camouflage from predators. Additionally, different gorilla species exhibit variations in coloration, which can be attributed to their natural history and physical adaptations.

Gorilla habitat destruction is also a factor that can impact their color and overall survival. According to the World Wildlife Fund, mountain gorillas have experienced significant habitat loss in recent years due to human encroachment and deforestation.

Different Hues of Gorilla Color

Different Hues Of Gorilla Color  - What Color Are Gorillas,

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Gorillas come in many different colors! To understand this better, you should look at the gradations of color. Depending on the gorilla’s natural habitat and region, the fur can change hue. The Congo, Gabon, Angola, Uganda, and Rwanda gorillas have different coat patterns and markings. These varieties come in brown, silver/gray, and black. Each one is unique!


Gorillas exhibit various shades of brownish-black fur, attributed to the concentration of melanin in their skin. This melanin concentration is dependent on the individual’s genetics, health, and diet.

The shades of brown in gorillas may vary from reddish-brown to blackish-brown, and these hues are often associated with environmental factors such as humidity and sunlight exposure. The fur color also varies according to the geographical location of the species, with mountain gorillas exhibiting a darker shade compared to western lowland gorillas.

Unique features of brownish-black gorilla fur include its thickness and length; this insulation protects them from extreme temperatures and harms that would otherwise affect their skin. Gorilla fur also possesses an oily texture that allows water droplets to slide off efficiently.

Pro Tip: High-quality photographs can be used to differentiate between gorilla subspecies via their distinctive brownish-black fur variations.

Gorillas go gray just like humans, but they rock it better with their silverback style.


Gorillas with silverback color are a majestic sight to behold in their natural habitat. This hue is most commonly found in adult male gorillas who have reached sexual maturity. The silver/gray appearance is due to the hair on their back turning gray or white with age.

This striking shade of silver/gray is not present in all subspecies of gorillas but can be found predominantly in the mountain and eastern lowland gorillas. Aside from age, health, genetics, and diet can also contribute to this unique coloration.

Interestingly, the hue of their fur can change based on differences in lighting conditions as well. In bright sunlight, the silverback color appears more reflective and vibrant, while it tends to appear darker on overcast days.

An interesting tale recounts an encounter with a male gorilla named Cantsbee, who lived in Volcanoes National Park located in Rwanda. He was famous for having an unusually long and shiny silverback and was considered one of the largest gorillas ever recorded. His impressive size and coloring made him an icon among wildlife photographers and filmmakers seeking to document these magnificent animals.

“Why wear a black jacket when you can just borrow some fur from a Grauer’s gorilla?”


Grauer’s gorilla color is commonly associated with black gorilla fur. Ebony gorilla fur is the result of a high amount of the pigment melanin present in their body. This color helps them camouflage with their surroundings and protects them from UV rays. The color of a gorilla may also depend on age, genetics, and diet. However, even the darkest hue will not appear completely black, as there will always be some undertones or reflective properties to notice.

Some Facts About What Color Are Gorillas:

  • ✅ Gorillas have black fur. (Source: World Wildlife Fund)
  • ✅ The black fur of gorillas serves as a form of protection against insects and sunburn. (Source: San Diego Zoo)
  • ✅ The skin of gorillas is actually dark, but it’s not visible because of the thickness of their fur. (Source: National Geographic)
  • ✅ The black fur of gorillas also helps them blend into their forest habitat. (Source: Rainforest Trust)
  • ✅ In some light, the black fur of gorillas can look brown or even have a slight red tint. (Source: Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute)

FAQs about What Color Are Gorillas

What color are gorillas?

Gorillas typically have black or dark brown hair, although some species may have a reddish tint to their fur. The color of their hair can also vary depending on their age, with younger gorillas tending to have lighter fur.

Do all gorillas have the same hair color?

No, the color of a gorilla’s hair can vary from individual to individual and can also depend on the species of gorilla. Additionally, a gorilla’s hair may appear different depending on the lighting or environment.

Why do gorillas have black hair?

The black hair of gorillas is thought to provide protection from the sun and help regulate body temperature. It also helps them blend into their natural forest environment.

Do gorillas change hair colors during the year?

No, gorillas do not go through a seasonal color change like some other animals. However, their hair may appear different depending on factors such as lighting, age, and individual variation.

How does a gorilla’s hair color affect their behavior?

A gorilla’s hair color does not affect their behavior, as it is largely determined by genetics and environmental factors. However, the color of a gorilla’s hair can play a role in social interactions and communication with other gorillas.

Can gorillas have white hair?

No, gorillas do not have white hair. Their hair is typically black or dark brown, sometimes with a reddish tint, and may appear lighter or darker depending on their age and other factors.

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