FactsHow long do Gorillas live?

How long do Gorillas live?

  • The 51 years old silverback Matze in Frankfurt Zoo (© Mathias Orgeldinger)

At an age of 35 or more, gorillas show distinct signs of age. Old mountain gorillas often suffer from arthritis, which mainly damages the bones in their hands and feet. They also suffer from the loss of teeth as a consequence of periodontitis, so that they have a problem with feeding. It takes them longer to feed and to travel than the other group members. Gorilla groups adjust their activities accordingly and look after the aged members, in a similar way as they treat sick individuals. Only when death is imminent, the old animals are sometimes abandoned or they retreat on their own accord.

To date, no exact data on the maximum age of free-ranging gorillas are available, as animals in the wild have only been observed since 1967. On average they probably reach 40-45 years. The oldest gorilla whose age is known exactly was Colo, who was born in Columbus/Ohio: she became 60 in December 2016 and died a few weeks later. Still older are now Trudy in Little Rock (probably born in 1956) and Fatou in Berlin (probably born in 1957).