why do gorillas beat their chest

why do gorillas beat their chest- Silverback gorillas

why do gorillas beat their chest

why do gorillas beat their chest? A gorilla’s world is often very loud and dramatic once they got to make themselves seen and heard through the dense vegetation they sleep in. today we would like to know why gorillas pound their chest and chest-beating is common behaviors in Mountain gorillas.

Screams, hoots, roars, and growls are all a part of their repertoire but so too are smaller, subtler sounds and gestures that are even as important for being understood in their social groups.

These vocalizations, or verbal communications, are often related to different behaviors including play, feeding, anger, and alarm, and may even be used alongside specific gestures and expressions.

The vocalization that folks are perhaps most conscious of is that the screaming charge which is that the big, dramatic ‘I’m angry and frightened and you’re a danger to me, so I’m getting to scare you away’. This is why do gorillas beat their chest.

Ian Redmond may be a tropical field biologist and conservationist and has been related to mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) for quite 30 years. he’s best known for his time as a search assistant with the famous primatologist Dr. Dian Fossey, who identified 17 gorilla vocalizations.

We had to find out those sounds and therefore the visual communication which frequently accompanied them to be ready to perform his research in close proximity to the gorillas. He also helped train the actress Sigourney Weaver before winning the part of Dr. Fossey within the 1988 film ‘Gorillas within the Mist’.

Here is his guide to understanding what gorillas need to say.


A contact call may be a sound most employed by observers.
A contact call, or belch vocalization, is that the sound most employed by observers to point out they’re not a threat to the group (credit: Ian Redmond)
Known as a contact call, the sound got its name because it had been first thought to be the gorillas belching.
“The principles of that are to use visual communication to point out non-aggression.
“So you retain low, you don’t stand bipedally so you’re towering over them, you fold your arms and appearance faraway from them and glance out of the corner of your eye to point out that you’re not threatening them or being aggressive, and you announce your presence, you tell them that you’re coming in order that you don’t take them all of sudden and you employ gorilla vocalizations to try to that.”


Dian Fossey’s Poject transformed the gorilla’s reputation, showing that charging and screaming was only a part of their communication repertoire.
“The vocalization that folks are perhaps most conscious of is that the screaming charge which is that the big, dramatic ‘I’m angry and frightened and you’re a danger to me, so I’m getting to scare you away’ display.
“That’s what got them their reputation as being the monsters of the forest because when you’ve got a 200kg (440lb) animal with very large teeth going ‘waaaah’ fortissimo at you while hurtling towards you, it’s very intimidating – that’s what it’s designed to be.

Dian Fossey’s work with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda changed this image. Gaining the animals’ trust, she was ready to get on the brink of them and find out that their intimate communication was far more complex than these tocsin cries had led other observers to believe.


Gorillas can warn others of the food they need their eye on
Gorillas can warn others of the food they need their eye on, employing a pig-like grunt tells the opposite gorilla to “back-off” (credit: Ian Redmond)
This wake-up call was a crucial one to learn before her starring role in ‘Gorillas within the Mist’. alongside the contact calls and other reassuring sounds he taught her to try to, he says she also needed to understand the way to react to a gorilla vocalization.

“If a gorilla is close to eat a plant, they’re sitting in one place eating all the plants within arm’s reach and that they usually eye up subsequent place they’re getting to move to, and if somebody else goes to eat that plant then you’ll hear ‘uh, uh, uh’,”

“It means ‘back off, I’ve got my eye on that’, within the context it means ‘stop that’ or ‘move away’. It’s sometimes called a pig grunt because once they get going it almost seems like pigs grunting or a coughing grunt. It’s very clear, you don’t mistake it.”

Play chuckle

This characteristic chuckling sound is typically made by youngsters.
This characteristic chuckling or laughing sound is an expression of fun and may be used as a call for participation to play (credit: Ian Redmond)
All gorillas play and express playfulness, although this characteristic chuckling or laughing sound is typically made by youngsters.

“It’s a really hoarse ‘ha, hahaha, ha hahaha, ha, ha’ and that’s both an expression of fun and that I guess joy, but it also can be used as a call for participation to play.

“So a gesture to return and play amid a play chuckle will elicit a response, and that’s clear communication – both verbal and using gestures.”


Gorillas make reassuring sounds once they are comfortable.
Gorillas use belch vocalizations and even make a singing sound once they are comfortable.
The contentment sound, which is usually termed singing, can extend from the belch vocalization call when gorillas are comfortable and may take many various forms. Gorillas can recognize each other’s voices in order that they can tell who is making the reassuring noises from the tone of their voice.

“When gorillas are relaxed and therefore the sun’s shining and there’s many food they’ll start singing, it’s going ‘mwaaah, mwahwah, hwah, hwah, hwah, hwah’, they’re usually eating when they’re singing, because they sing when they’re happy and they’re happy when they’re eating,” he says.

“It’s high-pitched, almost sort of a dog whining sound and type of like ‘mwah, mwahmwah’, low rumbling sounds.”


Gorillas are often quiet and any sounds they are doing make are very soft
Gorillas are often quiet and any sounds they are doing make are very soft, visual communication is usually even as important (credit: Ian Redmond)
If a gorilla hears something that it suspects could be dangerous it’ll not immediately give alarm calls, instead, it’ll stop what it’s doing and appearance towards the source of the sound and listen.

“Very, very quickly members of the family realize that the shortage of sound and therefore the focused attention on a specific spot within the forest might mean danger.

“So silence is really a way of communication when it’s amid direct gaze and an expression of concern and if that’s then reinforced with more worrying signals, more movement or evidence of a poacher or a threatening animal, then there could be an alarm bark and if they’re really frightened then they scream and run away.”

If the danger remains then the silverback will again sit quietly behind a bush or a tree and observe the threat, expecting the right moment to leap out and provides a daunting roar.

“A lot is inferred from position and expression with little or no vocalization, they’re just not that vocals say.

“If an argument breaks out and that they scream at one another it’s loud but most of the time there’s a touch sound and therefore the sounds are very soft, but they are doing gesture and signal by their body.

Chest beat

Male gorillas chest beat
Male gorillas chest beat as a display of size and strength
The gorilla’s most famous gesture is that the chest beat, standing on two legs and hitting the chest alternately with their open hands, instead of their clenched fists – as has been portrayed in films.

“For a silverback, the stylized display to point out other gorillas what an enormous fine fellow he’s , is to start out off hooting, sometimes biting off a leaf, then the hoots speed up until they slur together and he stands up bipedally and does a rapid chest beat then finishes off the display by hitting the bottom or tearing off a sapling, or if someone’s sitting there maybe thumping that somebody .

This display is often directed towards other males also as females, with nuances counting on whether the recipient is at a distance or accessible.