FactsDo Gorillas use tools?

Do Gorillas use tools?

  • A gorilla in Nürnberg Zoo fishes for food in prepared wood with a stick. (© Mathias Orgeldinger)

According to research to date, free-ranging gorillas use tools very rarely - in contrast to chimpanzees. As there is always a surplus of food plants, there is no need to use tools. However, they are certainly capable of making tools. In Mbeli Bai, they use sticks to probe the depth of the water. A young gorilla male in a zoo was observed to break up a rock and to use its sharp edge to scrape off bark from a branch in order to eat it.

In contrast to other ape species that often work with their mouths, gorillas use only their hands to manipulate objects. For fine movements they use either their index finger or index finger and thumb by positioning the thumb opposite the index finger. Doing this, they use their hands almost exactly like humans.