Everyday LifeHow do Gorillas sleep?

How do Gorillas sleep?

  • Mountain gorilla nest (© Jörg Hess)

Gorillas sleep in nests, which they build on the ground or in trees, depending on various variables, such as the vegetation and the security situation. Every evening mountain gorillas construct a new nest, even if it is only a few metres from the nest they used the night before. Each animal builds its own nest; only infants sleep in the same nest as their mothers. About half an hour before it gets dark the gorillas settle in the nest. Occasionally, they also build nests for the midday rest.

To build a ground nest, the animals pull the branches of bushes and other plants into the centre, layer them and anchor them to each other. Other plants are bent in to form the nest rim. Tree nests are built mainly in forks of branches or similar structures. The nest has to be constructed in such a way that it can carry the weight of the gorilla. Females and young animals prefer to sleep in trees, whereas silverback males hardly ever do.