A video showing two gorillas duking it out at the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is gaining some attention online.
The video, posted to YouTube by an account named Shannon W. Olsen in late October 2015, shows two silverback gorillas tussling inside the zoo’s Hubbard Gorilla Valley. After a brief period of intimidation, the two gorillas finally make contact shortly after the 30-second mark.
The gorillas exchange blows, going bananas on one another while onlookers remark "Where’s the zookeepers?" and "That was awesome!" A tuft of gray hair falls to the ground and soon the gorillas break apart, with one retreating to the top of the hill.
"It looks like a big battle," said Dan Houser, the zoo’s curator of large mammals, "but on the gorilla scale, it’s no more than one kid pushing another kid."
The video’s newfound attention comes almost a year after a gorilla in the same exhibit at the zoo cracked the glass after getting a running head-start and jumping. At the time, a zoo curator said the gorilla was trying to make a sound to intimidate other male gorillas in the exhibit.
This time is no different. Kijito — the same 21-year-old gorilla who broke the glass — and Tatu, a 17-year-old, got into the duel as an ongoing effort to establish dominance in the exhibit, which includes three bachelor gorillas. Someday, those gorillas will mellow out as testosterone levels drop off, but for now, it’s about earning the upper hand.
"They weren’t (fighting), it was more of a shoving match," Houser said. "It’s how they establish who is dominant and who is submissive. They do it without injuring one another."
In other words, going ape is just another day in the life of a gorilla.