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How strong is the silver back

Dear Troy

Thank you for your question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

Please note that there is a lot of anecdotal evidence associated with gorillas, especially from the time when they were considered to be savage animals, ready to attack any people who came near. Also, very little work has been done to verify the strength of wild gorillas.

Fieldworking (https://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060812113302AAbejNL) says that a silverback gorilla can almost casually bend and snap tempered steel bars (5cm thick) and giant bamboo stalks, suggesting a muscle power of at least 8-15 men. Jersey Zoo's Jambo weighed over 400 lb, but could hang from one arm, while methodically ripping over 60m of inner ceiling securely screwed and nailed planks from a roof with his other arm. The silverback uses its very powerful jaws to reach the pith of plants and in defence, inflicting serious wounds with its bites.

Gulder Roy (https://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060812113302AAbejNL) says a gorilla's strength is mainly in the upper body. On a bench press, a strong man can bench press about 250kg, while a gorilla could lift about 2500kg.

Matti Marzel(http://ferociousstrength.com/the-phenomenal-strength-of-gorillas/) says that a silverback gorilla has far more pure, brute, raw and total strength than the strongest man and is at least 20 times stronger than 20 Strong men! Matti Marzel reckons that a silverback can easily take 5-8 of the strongest men in the world on a pound for pound basis, break both their arms and legs and rip their heads off in a split second. Gorillas are a lot stronger on a pound for pound basis then any other primate and show incredible strength when it comes to pound for pound bodyweight pulling strength and efficiency in their upper body, such as their grip strength. The website includes a video below of a silverback ripping up an banana tree.

http://seaworld.org/animal-info/animal-infobooks/gorilla/physical-characteristic says that an adult gorilla's upper body strength is six times more powerful than that of an adult human - enabling it to lift, break and squeeze heavy objects.

I hope this is useful to you. Please note that I haven't verified whether all the figures and comments in each website are true, but they show a consistency indicating that silverbacks are very strong.

All the best


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Jonathan Wright


I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.


I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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