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60789.  Sun Mar 19, 2006 7:58 am Reply with quote

What eats seeds and worms and always sleeps in nests?

Forfeit: Birds.

(Note: Plenty of birds never nest, like cuckoos and Antarctic penguins. Species such as diving ducks use roosting ‘platforms’ which are made from flattened vegetation. Many other species will generally only nest when they are breeding.)

A: Gorillas.

Despite weighing up to 150kg, Gorillas sleep in nests, which they either build on the ground or in trees depending on the surrounding vegetation.

Unlike nesting birds – who tend to return to the same nests – adult Gorillas create new nests every evening, even if it’s yards aways from their old one.

Young animals sleep with their mothers, who tend to nest in trees, unlike the silverback males who prefer to be positioned on the ground.

Scientists have observed that gorilla’s nests are comparable to the interior decorating skills of Laurence Llewellyn Bowen.

They take about 10 minutes to design and create, are fashioned very crudely, and are rather uncomfortable to inhabit.

Gorillas are predominantly herbivores, and enjoy eating leaves, seeds, tree bark, and up to 200 different plant species.

Because of the nature of their diet, Gorillas rarely have to drink water.

Last edited by Bunter on Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:26 pm; edited 2 times in total

60810.  Sun Mar 19, 2006 9:54 am Reply with quote

Good, good. The trad image of a gorilla's lunch is a banana. Do we know whether they have access to bananas in the wild, or indeed what they make of them in captivity? Do they peel them? And if they do, do they view the skins as having comic potential?

Chris may know this stuff.

NB info re difference between apes and monkeys at post 55556.

Last edited by Flash on Sun Mar 19, 2006 10:10 am; edited 1 time in total

60812.  Sun Mar 19, 2006 10:01 am Reply with quote

Hmmm ....

Gorillas may use their hands or feet to peel bananas and other items of food in zoos and in the wild, if this makes their food easier to eat. Some gorillas are said to squeeze the base of a banana, so that the fruit comes out.

Gorillas may damage banana plantations, but not all gorillas like to eat bananas. Some gorillas living in one mountain chain may eat bananas, while others living in another location do not eat the bananas growing there. Captured adult gorillas may avoid touching cultivated bananas or other strange food for some time, whereas captured infants are more likely to try new foodstuffs. notes that cultivated bananas differ from their wild equivalent in nutritional composition, colour and texture. Wild foods tend to be higher in fibre and that fibre is often of low digestibility. Gorillas have a high fibre diet and may not associate soft bananas as food at first. ...

I reckon that gorillas are probably more likely to peel bananas in captivity than in the wild. As wild bananas are more fibrous than cultivated bananas, and as gorillas are adapted to a high fibre diet, including much tougher food than banana skins, I can't see much of an advantage in a gorilla peeling a banana. It takes a lot of energy obtaining food and that energy would be better used elsewhere. As to gorillas peeling bananas in captivity, they may pick up this habit by copying others, including watching visitors peeling bananas. Keepers may also encourage gorillas to peel their bananas, because it represents 'intelligent i.e. human behaviour'. It should also be noted that some keepers cut up food for gorillas, so the banana may be cut up into slices. In this instance, I think that the gorilla would eat the pieces of banana whole.

I'm sorry that I cannot give a definitive answer, but I couldn't find any research on this subject.

60814.  Sun Mar 19, 2006 10:03 am Reply with quote

In southwest Uganda:

Bananas are the only local crop favored by gorillas, but they rarely eat the fruit itself. Instead they go for the watery core of the plant stem. Stands of banana trees near the forest edge may be destroyed before they ever have a chance to bear fruit.

Frederick The Monk
60834.  Sun Mar 19, 2006 12:34 pm Reply with quote

If I may borrow Flash's jaunty Quibble Hat is it the case that NO birds 'eat seeds and worms and sleep in nests'. If not the answer birds would be technically correct.

60872.  Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:08 pm Reply with quote

Gorillas in captivity definitely do eat bananas, and they eat them by breaking the back open and consuming the insides. They often eat some of the skin as well.

I agree, we can't really have birds as a forfeit for this one. I like the whole question, though. Maybe add: "and could pull your head off" or something.

60876.  Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:27 pm Reply with quote

I've changed the question a bit. Now it seems overlong. Any better ideas? I like Gray's and 'pull the head off' but it could lead one to the answer perhaps...?

60877.  Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:28 pm Reply with quote

Human birth control pills work on gorillas. And cataract operations are identical: a (human) surgeon worked on one of Bristol Zoo's gorillas to remove two congenital cataracts she'd had from birth.

I must try to find some proof that vets can treat people, but doctors aren't allowed to treat animals...

64592.  Mon Apr 10, 2006 5:19 am Reply with quote

Biggest nest: the dusky scrubfowl (or megapode), whose nest weighs up to 300 tonnes.

Edible nests, made of saliva: the cave swiftlet (birds' nest soup).

Frederick The Monk
64862.  Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:02 am Reply with quote

Smallest nest: Cuban bee and Vervain hummingbirds at 1.98 cm (0.78 in) in breadth and 1.98 - 3.0 cm (0.78 - 1.2 in) deep

239811.  Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:02 am Reply with quote

Of all birds in the world, Bald Eagles hold the record for the biggest nest ever built. One nest in Florida was 6.1 meters deep, 2.9 meters wide, and weighed 2,722 kg (almost 3 tons). Could a Bald Eagle nest this size fit in your classroom?

<edited by Jenny to remove commercial link>

240017.  Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:45 pm Reply with quote

What about the Dusky Scrubfowl, then? (see three posts up)

240065.  Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:50 pm Reply with quote

Seems to be a mistake on these stats.

The entries are as follows:

largest ground nest: dusky scrubfowl nest at 11 m (36 ft) wide and 4.9 m (16 ft) high with over 2,700 kg (300 tons) of forest floor litter

largest tree nest: bald eagle in Florida at 6.1 m (20 ft) deep, 2.9 m (9.5 ft) wide, and weighing 2,722 kg (almost 3 tons)

However, if the dusky scrubfowl is 2,700kg then that's under 3 tons, not 300 tons, making the bald eagle a winner - only just.

240098.  Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:30 pm Reply with quote

Except that the bald eagle nest is a specific measured example, whereas the dusky scrubfowl one says 'over 2,700kg', so one would assume that some are substantially larger, so it probably wins. I doubt that they're anything like 300 tons though - I reckon it would take longer than it's lifetime to collect 300 tons of forest floor litter (and result in some very tidy forests!). I could do some sums to work out just how long it would take, and how big an area of forest it would require, but as it's obviously a typo, I won't...

370639.  Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:57 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
Human birth control pills work on gorillas. And cataract operations are identical: a (human) surgeon worked on one of Bristol Zoo's gorillas to remove two congenital cataracts she'd had from birth.

Maybe birth control pill is working on gorillas because we share the same hormones but I don't think it will be the case with lower evolution animals like cats, dogs etc.


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