Do Gorillas Eat Meat?
A Silverback Gorilla is a mature male Mountain Gorilla weighing between 300 and 400 pounds. He is incredibly strong and lean and has massive canines (teeth). Females gorillas are 150 to 250 pounds. The gorilla diet consists of eating 40 plus pounds of vegetation and fruit daily. Gorillas are primarily Herbivores and occasionally snack on termites, ants, and termite larvae but gorillas DO NOT eat meat or the flesh of other animals.
Chances are that you are reading this article because you are considering a vegetarian or vegan diet. Gorillas have a somewhat similar digestive system as a human. There are, however some major differences in what humans should consume versus a gorilla.
First, it should be noted that gorillas derive much of their Vitamin B12 from eating plants that are not washed in chlorinated water! Vitamin B12 is found in bacteria in soil. In addition, they eat termites and ants that are covered in nutrient rich soil. Humans wash much of their produce and the produce you buy is washed with chlorinated or purified water thus losing much of the nutrients that you might have otherwise derived from ingesting soil. It is also important to note that much of the agricultural products produced for humans are produced in soil that is mostly depleted of nutrients. It is paramount that humans have adequate amounts of Vitamin B12 and is highly recommended for vegans to take a Vitamin B12 supplement. IF you are concerned about getting enough vitamin B12 in your diet, please read my post HERE about B12.
Humans have a smaller colon and a larger small intestine than gorillas and other primates. As a result, we require softer, less fibrous, and more nutrient and energy dense foods. It would be difficult for a human to digest much of the stems, leaves and seeds that are part of the diet of other primates. Thus the reason we crush, chop, and cook much of our produce and fibrous foods. It is believed that this is a result of the human agriculture revolution and human adaptation.
Since gorillas have larger colons, they ferment much of their plant fibers in their gut. The gorilla has six times the absorption available from the colon than a human does, which means they have many times the amount of bacteria available for digestion of plant cellulose. Humans pass most of the plant cellulose and are unable to digest it, and human capacity to convert plant fiber to fatty acid is somewhat limited. Fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6) are essential to human health.
Another big difference between humans and other primates and most other animals is the amount of amylase (a digestive enzyme) that we produce. This enzyme helps in the digestion and break down of starches like rice, wheat, maize (corn), and potatoes. It is likely that this is a direct result of adaptation as some studies suggest that cultures with a higher intake of starch (Japan) produce more amylase. In other words, humans are able to easily consume and process starchy foods and thrive on those starches. Some believe that humans are essentially ‘Starchivores’.
Here is the result of China moving from a primarily plant based diet to high meat consumption:
It is most likely that early humans lived in warm climates and ate the fruits of what nature produced naturally. Namely fruits and nuts. As our population has grown, we rely on agriculture and foods that humans plant and produce. What we consume today may not be what early humans ate, but it does show that humans are highly adaptive.
Could we eat like a gorilla? A gorilla diet would allow for our survival but I don’t believe it is the most beneficial diet for a human. At the same time, the diet that most cultures eat today is dangerous to our health and the health of our planet. Obesity rates and chronic diseases have run rampant. Our planet is dying and if we don’t change what we are doing, we are destined for extinction.
A note about ‘protein’:
There are 9 essential amino acids that need to be derived from diet. These amino acids bind together for ‘protein’ synthesis. Scientifically: Proteins are polymer chains made of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds. PLANTS contain ALL of the amino acids essential in human nutrition. Where do you think these massive mammals get their ‘protein’ eating ONLY plants?
If you are considering a vegetarian or vegan diet, I would highly recommend it for the benefit of your health and the benefit of this planet we share. All you have to do is look around you to know that our current course is not healthy. I can tell you from my personal experience that it changed my life! (You can read about that HERE). I would encourage you to do the research to ensure that you are getting the nutrients that you need in your diet and to not just ‘go vegan’ uninformed. I have many resources available in this blog. I would also encourage you to visit NutritionFacts.org
A well balanced diet is important for your health and longevity so please know what you should and should not put in your body! I am very careful about my diet as there is a lot of longevity in my family, but there is also a lot of chronic disease like diabetes and heart disease. I will likely live into my 90’s and I plan to grow old gracefully!
As always, if you have any questions about my posts or content, please feel free to reach out to me directly.
P.S. I have an additional article on this subject titled “What Do Gorilla’s Eat”
Concerned about getting enough protein? Check out these FIT VEGANS!
42 Replies to “Do Gorillas Eat Meat?”
I have to tell you, this is certainly great stuff and well written. It’s given me some more ideas for my own content that I would never have thought about. First-rate job.
also vegan brain functions same as gorilla’s.
while other monkeys eat meat just fine
I got what you mean,saved to fav, very decent site.
Moron, B12 is *not* naturally occurring in the soil; any B12 there is due to feces. B12 originates as cobalamin in soil which plants pick up and when herbivorous animals eat their gut bacteria will turm out B12, you idiot. You’re a total imbecile
It’s great that you have taken to name calling. B12 is a chemical compound: C62H88CoN13O14P – It originates in soil and water – a.k.a. cobalamin – COBALT. See the open chemistry database: https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/56840966 “Cobalamin is a cobalt-containing coordination compound produced by intestinal micro-organisms and found ALSO in soil and water.”
I wish I could eat grass
We are not herbivores. Our guts are more like a wolf’s than an ape. B12 is way easier to get by eating meat and eating meat is not harming the earth at all. Large agricultural farms harvesting plant foods causes more damage than a grass fed beef farm. Plus, protein from animal sources are way easier for humans to assimilate.
All of the silly arguments that us vegans constantly hear. Not even worth addressing all of this misinformation.
We are nowhere near like wolves. Wolves has much shorter intestines than we do, like about 5 times shorter, they’re intestines are smooth while ours have ridges and pockets, wolves, like all carnivores, pant to cool their bodies, we sweat, like all herbivores, our teeth look like those of a cow, not a lion, we have way more enzymes in our saliva and our stomach has 20% less acidity than a wolf’s stomach and saliva. We are not carnivores and make poor omnivores.
You have been misled. You need to track down that information because it is incorrect. Learn something about DNA, apes, and where B12 actually come from.
firefly is an angry omnivore, but he probably thinks he is a carnivore.
you no something and nothing. a little knowledge to an idiot is very dangerous. Calm down, listen and understand.
Wrong B-12 comes from tiny organisms in the ground. Look it up! The reason humans no longer get enough B-12is because we clean our fruit and vegetables and was those organisms off. Gorillas obviously don’t clean their vegetables and drink water from a river or stream. Educate yourself before you have any other brain dead thoughts.
Right away-“Gorillas have a similar digestive system as a human.”
Does having a larger colon than small intestine (gorilla) sound like a human digestive system whatsoever??
Humans have the reverse ratio. If they are indeed similar, than I am also similar to a fish because I can float in water.
If you would have kept reading, it is fully explained! “Humans have a smaller colon and a larger small intestine than gorillas and other primates. As a result, we require softer, less fibrous, and more nutrient and energy dense foods. It would be difficult for a human to digest much of the stems, leaves and seeds that are part of the diet of other primates. Thus the reason we crush, chop, and cook much of our produce and fibrous foods. It is believed that this is a result of the human agriculture revolution and human adaptation.”
also the reason we eat meat and run better off fats….. carbs and sugar are why the American diet is bad, not the meat.
REALLY? Show me some science that says we run better off fats? Simply.not.true!
Show the science that we run better off of sugar. I know that the available supply of bodily fat is far far far greater than the maximum available supply of sugar. Seems wasteful to store so much fuel that isn’t appropriate for “running” off of.
When you understand Oxidative Priority, you will see that our bodies first and very efficiently burn glucose. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5326984/
I’m sorry but it is true that humans thrive better off of fats that are included in our diet. The Inuit and the Massai are but just two examples. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not advocating a fat only diet, nor am I militant about eating a carnivorous/ketogenic diet because even the Inuit and the Massai do occasionally eat vegetables and fruit. I believe a human diet including all of the macros (fat, protein, carbs) is needed for optimal health. What we need to do is remove MOST of the processed foods from our diet. Please read The Obesity Code by Dr. Fung for an unbiased view on the optimal human diet.
You are badly misinformed Mike. The Inuit and Massai certainly did not thrive. The Inuit live 10 years less than their Northern counterparts and had very high rates of ischemic stroke! The life expectancy of the Massai is less than 50 years. Read Dr. Thomas Campbell’s take on the Inuit and Massai: https://nutritionstudies.org/masai-and-inuit-high-protein-diets-a-closer-look/
Macros are not nutrients or food groups. Humans need 9 essential amino acids from their food and all of those are available via plants. Consider that 600 pound Silverback Gorillas have plenty of muscle and eat only plants and a few termites or ants now and again. Where do you think they get their ‘protein’? Personally, I was very overweight and lost 168 lbs and gained a ton of muscle on a plant-based diet.
Jason Fung is a quack. I would encourage you to read the science behind oxidative priority: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5326984/
I also have an article on this blog about Why I Hate The Ketogenic Diet Craze. It has reference to over 1200 studies: https://www.arespectfullife.com/2018/06/25/why-i-hate-the-ketogenic-diet-craze/
If many of the plants and veggies that we get at stores are deprived of the goodies nature intended then how do we get enough of what we need when going vegan? I’ve done the vegan diet for 6 months and I can say I didn’t feel any different…which I thought was a good thing. Diets like low carb always made me feel tired and depleted. Only issue I had with the vegan diet is I felt like I was eating too much soy for convenience and for protein intake. I try to get around 150 grams of protein per day and find this much more difficult (yet not impossible) with a vegan diet. Anyway…enjoyed your article:) We should really have a lot more education like this for people because as a society we eat WAY more meat than we should. What was once a luxury item eaten once a week has become a daily staple.
Thank you for your comments Ray. Not sure why you think that you need 150g protein daily. Quinoa is a great source, and soy is nothing to be afraid of.
“Yeah i get my protein from the same place as your protein, gets its protein”
Cool! Do you have 4 stomachs, filled with bacteria, a huge colon, or a giant cecum? Do you have a gorilla belly, sitting there eating leaves all day long? Or do you look like a fat cow, eating grass nonstop?Fucking stupid idiot.
One doesn’t need “4 stomachs, filled with bacteria, a huge colon, or a giant cecum” to get enough essential amino acids. Find me just ONE protein deficient vegan please…. just ONE. Ever use chronometer? I know lots of plant-based people that do and I can guess that the nutrients and ‘protein’ they are getting from their diets are much better than yours. Care to compare results oh brilliant one?
Quit being so disrespectful and watch how you talk to people who isn’t even disrespecting you.
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