Can I Have A Pet Gorilla?

Yes, you can have a pet Gorilla. However, it is not advised to keep one as a pet because of the question of legality and the many risks and challenges involved with caring for a pet Gorilla.


  • Can I Own A Pet Gorilla
  • Where Can I get a Gorilla
  • How Much Would It Cost To Get A Gorilla?
  • Challenges with keeping a pet Gorilla
  • Top 3 Reasons why you shouldn’t have a pet Gorilla

Can I Own A Pet Gorilla

Yes, you can. However, you should ask yourself if it’s legal to own one in your state first. It’s considered illegal in the US to own primates as pets or captives, except if you own a zoo or some reserve.

Also, you should ask yourself the question of acquisition and care for a gorilla. Do you have the means to acquire or cater for a gorilla? Gorillas aren’t regular pets and can be pretty expensive and demanding to maintain.

Where Can I Get A Gorilla?

Getting a Gorilla can be difficult. You’d have to contact a private breeder or find one up for sale online (very unlikely). A final option would be to get one from the black market, but this is risky and can bring grave consequences if you’re caught.

How Much Would It Cost To Get A Gorilla?

You can spend anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 for a Gorilla. The actual price would depend on where and how you obtain the Gorilla: black market prices usually range from $30,000 to $50,000.

How Much Would It Cost To Get A Gorilla?

Challenges With Keeping A Pet Gorilla


The law in the US and several other countries prohibits keeping wild animals (including primates) as pets. Except if you own a circus, zoo, or some sort of wildlife preservation center, you may not be allowed to keep a Gorilla. The only chance is if you own a license or if you are in a country where keeping this creature is considered legal.

Respect and Understanding

Gorillas aren’t like dogs or cats that you can train, threaten, or punish if they go wrong. As a matter of fact, Gorillas can be pretty calm, but they are very aggressive when threatened. And moreso, they demand to be treated with respect: this is why if you go on a tour of a Gorilla zoo, you’ll be advised not to look directly in their eyes or approach them.

If you must keep a Gorilla, you must be careful to understand it, respect its boundaries and show respect at all times. This isn’t something easy to do, especially since it’s supposed to be a pet.


Gorillas eat a lot of food per day. Adult males can consume up to 75 pounds of vegetation per day, while adult females can consume up to 40 pounds of the same. If you do the math, let’s say you spend 1.5 dollars per pound of food, which will amount to about $60 – $100 every day.

Their diet is also very widely distributed: depending on the breed, Gorillas eat anything ranging from leaves, foliage, stems, piths, shoots, and fruits. Keeping your Gorilla healthy with the proper diet will not just be expensive; it’ll be very demanding.


Here’s a table showing the diets of some popular Gorilla breeds:

Eastern Lowland GorillaPiths, leaves, bark, stems, ants
Western Lowland GorillaBamboo shoots, stems, fruits, termites
Silverback GorillaStems, bamboo shoots, fruits, leaves
MountainLeaves, shoots, stems, snails, ants, larvae, roots, barks, rotting wood.


Gorillas are very social creatures that love to stay in groups with one alpha male as the head and protector. A typical Gorilla family can consist of three to thirty individual Gorillas. If you’re going to keep a gorilla, it won’t be the best option to keep only one. You’d have to invest in at least 2 or 3 Gorillas.

Even if you’re going for a baby gorilla, Mothers are known to have very strong bonds with their young. Separating a baby gorilla from its mother can cause emotional and physical problems in the Gorilla that would cause severe consequences to you later.

The only way to salvage the situation is to get a couple of young Gorillas or a mother Gorilla and her child. Not doing so would make your Gorilla feel lonely, and this may make it develop aggression toward you as well as a strong desire to escape.


You need an enormous space (like a zoo enclosure) if you want to keep a Gorilla happy and contented. You certainly can’t keep one indoors with you; a cage is also not advised, as the Gorilla would someday develop tendencies to escape. 

Top 3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Keep A Gorilla

Danger Of Getting Attacked

Gorillas are social creatures amongst themselves, but they are very much territorial and dominant. You wouldn’t want to piss off a gorilla (and it’s not easy to know what pisses them off or what doesn’t): just one wrong stance or one staring into the eyes of a male Gorilla can spell trouble for you. They weigh over 500 pounds and have the strength of 20 men combined. A silverback gorilla, for instance, can lift 4,000 pounds on a bench press. If you’re going to keep a pet gorilla, you’re at risk of getting mauled by it each and every day. If, for some reason, the gorilla breaks out of its cage, not even 30 men can help you stop it, except, of course, you shoot it down.

How Much Would It Cost To Get A Gorilla?

They’re wild

There aren’t any domesticated gorilla species: Gorillas are wild creatures, and it’s generally never a good idea to keep a wild animal as a pet. You never know when their wild instincts may kick in. There have been reports of people who got mauled or killed by their pet primates (gorillas, chimpanzees, etc.). These are solid proofs that you shouldn’t keep a gorilla or any of its relatives as a home pet. These creatures should be left in the wild or in zoos.

They’re Primates

Primates like chimpanzees and gorillas have so many resemblances to humans that they’re regarded as our closest relatives. So keeping a gorilla in captivity is like keeping a big, un-evolved human as a pet: it’s a bit cruel. Also, because these animals think the same way we do, they don’t appreciate being locked up in a cage. A Gorilla, for instance, is very dominant, and won’t likely tolerate being petted or fed for long. These animals have emotions and can plot revenge: Imagine a gorilla pouring out months of pent-up rage on you for depriving it of a normal life in the wild.

Also, there’s a movement to bestow personhood on Gorillas and other great apes: The “Great Ape Personhood.” Enslaving one of these great apes for your own ego or reducing them to mere pets will be considered cruel by this group.

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