Can Gorillas Swim? | How Fast Can Gorillas Swim?

Can Gorillas Swim

Can gorillas swim underwater?

Can Gorillas Swim? Yes, gorillas can swim. They love to play with water and even seem to like water games more than chimpanzees, who are known as “water apes”.

They also like playing around with different objects in the water. Personally, I have seen one of our female gorillas playing with a rubber ducky, holding it under her arm fat just like a child would do. And she seemed to enjoy herself tremendously!

Gorillas that live at the zoo swim in their pools or an adjacent lake if they have one available. Zoo guests often comment that the gorillas seem unhappy when they see them swimming… some even suggest it’s because they are “drowning” (we’ve had this comment numerous).

But the fact is, gorillas enjoy swimming, they are the ones who ask their keepers to turn on the water in their enclosure if it’s not on already.

Unfortunately, at many zoos where gorillas have access to a pool, they cannot swim because either the depth of the water is too shallow for them or there are no steps leading into it.

Gorillas can’t dive like other primates and easily drown when the water is over their heads. At other locations though, our female Panya absolutely loves being submerged in her warm pool while she gets a backrub from one of her caretakers.

She will allow herself to float all around the pool without any safety precautions whatsoever!

Are gorillas good swimmers?

Are gorillas good swimmers? No, they aren’t. Gorillas do not naturally swim in the wild and would rather avoid water altogether if possible due to their bulk and weight making them less buoyant.

In fact, there have been several recorded cases of drowning among gorillas that were forced into a body of water by poachers or those trying to capture them either for exhibition or research purposes.

Can Gorillas Swim

In these rare incidences, one of the most common reasons given was that they couldn’t swim across a river because of their size and weight causing them to become overwhelmed with exhaustion and drown as a result.

Gorillas are not good swimmers because they can’t keep afloat due to their size and weight. Even though gorillas belong to the family Hominidae which also includes humans, on average, adult male silverback gorillas can grow up to 6 feet tall (1.8 meters) with weights near 400 pounds (180 kilograms).

How fast can gorillas swim?

How fast can gorillas swim there is frequently asked question. Gorillas are very good swimmers, especially the younger ones. They are known to have swum up to 6 miles in order to find dry land on the other side of a lake or pond. Adult gorillas rarely swim unless they feel threatened.

Can silverback gorillas swim?

No. They aren’t. However, this has never stopped them from doing so…

Silverback gorillas are known to enjoy both water and swimming to some degree. They cannot swim fluently, but they have been spotted playing around in the water or crossing rivers to move between islands or other dryland areas.

There are rumors that at least one gorilla troop currently residing in Congo DR is willing to swim across the Congo River to visit their cousins on another side!

It’s said that they do it rather quickly as if they were aquatic animals (and perhaps such a behavior is not only natural for them but too).

A similar thing has been observed in Rwanda, where silverbacks easily cross the Kivu Lake while looking for food. It’s probable that they do it to avoid crocodiles, not because there’s something obstructing their movement by land.

It should be noted that gorillas are known to be very strong swimmers, certainly stronger than humans; however, this does not mean they can swim fluently or cross long rivers or lakes. They are not able to do so but for small distances (up to 100 m).

Can gorillas learn to swim?

Many people have question can gorillas swim/can gorillas learn to swim. Answer by Ian Stirling, Wildlife Biologist specializing in Polar Bears, on Quora:

If a gorilla can learn to swim, I believe so. In my opinion, it’s not related to their physiology or anatomy that they would have problems swimming.

Also, it’s been said that some humans are afraid of the water because of how we evolved and gorillas don’t seem to have any fears about water (I’ve never seen one refuse to cross a stream or river).

It seems that there are some reports of gorillas swimming, but they don’t do it very often. I haven’t found any good photos of them swimming though.

Can Gorillas Swim

But I think if they know how to swim it would be something they might do more frequently (if not exposed to water like this gorilla in the photo).

It’s possible that their primary habitats have limited opportunities for swimming and that’s why we don’t see it happen more. Swimming is usually advantageous for animals because it can help them escape predators or find new sources of food.

Also having the ability to swim reduces the amount of land an animal needs for foraging habitat there may be less competition with other species.

I know there is at least one report of a gorilla in captivity swimming, but unfortunately, I can’t find the citation for it right now.

But this research paper mentions that captive gorillas frequently enter water pools that are available to them if they want to cool down. But I can’t say how much they swim vs wade in the water if any at all.

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