Wild

Gorilla dad faces off with son then wrestles him to the ground

August 12th, 2020

Just like humans, primates too need play in order to develop physically, socially, and emotionally, and they often engage in different kinds of playful activities with their peers.

It is true that play is most commonly observed among young gorillas, but sometimes adults get involved in it too, if “invited”.

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Unsplash/ Joshua J. Cotten Source: Unsplash/ Joshua J. Cotten

Some of the most common playful activities among gorillas are: wrestling, spinning, and tickling each other with their mouths. During these activities, gorillas let out long shouts as well, which can at times sound like laughter.

But, why is play so important for young gorillas?

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Unsplash/ Danielle Barnes Source: Unsplash/ Danielle Barnes

Well, just like humans really, playing with peers or older gorillas allows them to integrate into the group more smoothly. It helps youngsters to socialize with various members of the group and to be accepted as their own. Also, during play, young gorillas practice communication and learn patterns of behavior that are not instinctive.

As already mentioned above, wrestling is one of the most common kinds of play among gorillas. In the video below, 2-year old Ajabu is playfully wrestling with his dad, Motuba, in their enclosure at Philadelphia Zoo.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

It all starts when Ajabu “attacks” his dad while hanging from a branch or something similar. Motuba doesn’t seem to realize his son’s intention to wrestle with him at first, he just grabs him and places him on the floor. But little Ajabu is determined to show his dad he’s ready to beat him!

Motuba just sits there and waits for his son’s next move- it’s clear that he’s keeping an eye on him.

The little gorilla returns for a second attempt to attack his dad, who easily defends himself. The huge primate then decides to give in and wrestle with his little son who seems really excited about this new activity.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

So, a wrestling game between the two starts, and Motuba always makes sure his son is fine- after all, this whole thing will serve as “training” for him and there’s nothing hostile about the atmosphere between them.

“As you can see, both the Dad and his son have “playface” throughout the video. Both are having a great time playing together,” Ann Marie Byrnes, who uploaded the video, felt the need to clarify.

Their game goes on for a couple more minutes, all the while Ajabu “provoking” his dad by poking his eyes, playfully biting him and the like, while Motuba fights back with smooth moves.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

As Byrnes explains in the description section below the video, Motuba has two kids which he adores, but his relationship with each of them is different. The gorilla also has a 3-year old daughter, Amani, who is his princess and he would take anything from her.

On the other hand, younger Ajabu is “the tough boy”, who aspires to become his father’s mini-me. And that’s probably why he wants to spend quality time with him- like they do in the video in question.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

The video has attracted more than 3 million viewers, while it has been liked by 45 thousand people. Below the video, the comments by YouTube users were divided into those who talked about how cute the animals are and those who focused on the fact that they live in captivity. Maybe that’s why Byrnes felt the need to explain the conditions under which the animals live at that zoo.

In any case, the video itself is super sweet and it confirms that animals can be just as good parents as humans- if not better at times. You can see for yourself by clicking play below.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: Berggorilla, Gorilla Fund, AnnMarie Byrnes

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