While gorillas are perfectly able to walking on two legs, most take merely a step or two before dropping on all fours. However, Louis, a 16-year-old male gorilla in the Philadelphia Zoo, is commonly seen taking longer strolls, particularly if the ground is wet or he could be holding a delicious snack or two.
According to a 2015 blog by way of the great ape’s keeper, “When caught out from a rainstorm, he’ll run bipedally through the yard to look for cover, of course, if he accidentally steps in mud, he’ll get a leaf or simply a paper bag and wipe his hand or foot off until these are clean again.” That can help Louis within the desire to hold his hands clean, the zoo has established a bridge using fire hoses that permits the gorilla to prevent muddy puddles in their enclosure.
The six-foot-tall, 450-pound animal has become the largest and, according to officials, “probably the shyest” of all the zoo’s gorillas. Born in St. Louis, the western lowland gorilla has spent his entire life in captivity. Michael Stern, the zoo’s curator of primates and small mammals, believes his bipedal personality quirk may perhaps be a result of spending his expereince of living around bipedal humans.
Endemic into the lowland swamps of Central Africa, the western lowland gorilla is a smallest from the four gorilla subspecies, that include the cross river gorilla, the mountain gorilla, and eastern lowland gorilla. Easily recognizable by their brownish coloration and streak of silver hair round the small of their total backs and, occasionally, rump and thighs, the great apes are really a critically endangered species, thanks to a drastic decline in population on account of loss of habitat and illegal poaching.
Resources: nationalzoo.si.edu, news.nationalgeographic.com, dailymail.co.uk