Do gorillas fight frequently?

Because of their sharp canines and great strength, gorilla males are very dangerous opponents when they are in a fighting mood. Therefore, most differences of opinion are not resolved by fighting, but by displaying and other threat behaviour patterns, without anyone getting injured. Gorillas are famous for their display behaviour culminating in the chest beating and loud hooting. The chestbeat sounds especially impressive in silverback males.

Severe aggression is rare in stable gorilla groups, but when two groups meet, the leading silverbacks can sometimes engage in a fight to the death, mainly using their sharp canines to cause deep, gaping injuries.

Over a large part of Africa, gorillas and chimpanzees share their habitat and even eat some of the same plant species, making them competitors. This is particularly obvious when fruit ripens and both species are attracted to the same tree. The two species usually try to avoid each other, but sometimes they feed peacefully together in the same tree. Nevertheless, their encounters occasionally result in fatalities. Two cases are known from Gabon, where the more numerous chimpanzees chased away the gorillas and killed a gorilla infant.