What do Western Gorillas Look Like?

Both Eastern gorillas have longer hair than Western gorillas. In Eastern gorillas both sexes and all age classes have hair that is generally black. Longer, darker hair may occur in response to the colder conditions experienced by gorillas living at higher altitudes. Western gorilla females and immatures are covered in relatively dense, moderate length hair. As with all gorillas, the cheeks and nose are hairless, but adult females also lack hair on the chest. Hair colour varies in shade but usually contains chestnut tones. The head is often slightly more red than the rest of the pelage.


In the Western silverback (adult male), pelage is highly specialised. The crest and nape are often a deep red, chestnut colour. The shoulders and arms are covered in long, dense, black hair, accentuating their size. The chest area is hairless. The typical silver appearance of the saddle area of the back remains common to all species, but is slightly less pronounced in the Western gorilla, and the hair in this region may be shorter than in eastern gorillas. Some silverbacks may show silvering extending onto the rump and thighs, though the pelage in this area is generally similar in length and colour to that of the adult female.