Video: A captive Silverback Gorilla attacks some very foolish humans at the zoo


1 Like

The humans were stupid for not knowing primate dominance displays and what effect that can have? I don’t think that can be considered everyday knowledge.


I thought we weren’t doing that “they would have deserved to die for being so stupid” narrative anymore, because you know, there’s a gradient towards increasing pathos on the internet in 2015, and I thought this was one of the sites leading that charge.

Not to mention, its clear the child is really young, wasn’t being egged on by the adults to do so, was mimicking a motion portrayed in many children’s cartoons, and very likely had no training in minding the violent nature of male apes.


The kid could very well have been doing the ASL sign for gorilla. My son does that every time he sees anything that resembles a gorilla. I would have been doing it as well. Stupid me, I guess.


Given that humans are primates and that it’s a dominance display with humans as well, I think it’s a reasonable expectation.

I was at a zoo once when these two boys were thumping on the glass of the gorilla enclosure. I’m no zoologist, but the gorillas were staying away from the glass, obviously annoyed. Finally one of them ran up to the glass, swung out a fist, and THUMP – the glass wobbled, but didn’t break as it did in the video.

The kids were pleased they had successfully tormented the animals. I looked around for parents or security, but sadly neither were present.


the new gorilla exhibit in houston is about to open and i pray this doesn’t happen. every time i’m there (houston zoo) i see hoards of children beating on windows and taunting the animals. it breaks my heart that children aren’t being educated about respecting the animals.


If my time in elementary and middle school is any indication, the kids are treating the animals about as well as the treat their peers. Downright progressive compared to adults!


I agree. But could you please provide a list of provocative gestures for each animal I may find in the zoo so that I can teach my children what not to do in front of each animal…?

I think it is unfair to blame these people in this case. The children were not banging on the glass, and, as others have pointed out, and I am not sure that it is common knowledge that this is a provocative gesture for gorillas… I don’t see anything here that suggests these particular children were knowingly disrespecting animals.

If zoos are here to educate, perhaps the zoo should have a sign about what might provoke the animals…


I suggest the zoo either set those primates free, or upgrade their enclosure with


Not stupid. Ignorant. The zoo should have signage for this.


There’s some common sense general ideas. Don’t bang on glass. Don’t make any sudden movements. Don’t make loud noises. Not that hard.


That’s intersting, and perhaps something that warrants changing - ASL for “gorilla” is also GSL (gorilla sign language) for “Ya wanna go? Right now! Come at me bro!”


Understanding that these might be hard for kids. But adults should proctor kids to follow guidelines like this with animals.

1 Like

I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thought it was ridiculous to expect the parents, let alone the child, to casually think of this.


Interesting the way the gorilla acts like he seems preoccupied with something off to the side while he closes the gap.

1 Like

For those who seem surprised - do you usually see children beating their chests with their fists as a casual behavior? My guess is that they did it specifically because they knew of it as a provocation for gorillas. It just wasn’t as “funny” as when they see it on television. Introducing children to various kinds of animals can be an educational experience, but people should not take for granted that they are protected from carelessness. Natural selection is as likely to happen at the zoo as it is anywhere else.


“Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Ape.”


Do you really think it’s certain a kid would understand that it was a dominance display for a gorilla, as opposed to just a funny thing she’s seen gorillas do, maybe in a cartoon or something? Lots of kids “moo” when they see cows, her reasons for doing this may have been no different. Humans like to mimic, kids especially so.


Again, this child was doing none of this.

There seems to be some disconnect between “it is funny on tv” and their understanding that it is a provocation to a gorilla. I am not sure how you make that leap…