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Silverback gorilla and his son watch caterpillar in their Higashiyama Zoo enclosure 

This is the moment Shabani the gorilla and his son are entranced by a caterpillar as it shuffles its way across the floor of their enclosure.

But when the bug gets it a bit too close to the pair, the silverback cruelly flicks it away to show offspring Kiyomasa the power he has over smaller creatures.

The footage was captured in the gorillas’ enclosure at Higashiyama Zoo, Nagoya, in southern Japan.

Shabani, 23, has been living at the zoo since 2007 when he was separated from the rest of his family at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, to help Higashiyama with their breeding programme.

Being the only male to three females, the primate has sired two offspring, Kiyomasa and Annie.

Shabani has been praised for his playfulness and being protective of his offspring, which might explain why he and Kiyomasa were so fascinated by the tiny caterpillar that entered their enclosure.

In the video, Shabani encourages his son to get a good look at the bug, resting on his arms to lean as close as possible.

They assume poses which look comically human as they scrutinise the bug. 

But aware of the huge animal standing directly over it, the caterpillar makes a beeline for the gorilla’s arms, only to be rudely flicked away moments later. 

Since moving to Japan, the western lowland gorilla has attracted a large following of admirers who visit him because he is deemed to be incredibly ‘handsome’.

Zoo officials said there had been a notable increase in young female visitors thanks to Shabani, Chunichi reported.

Taronga Zoo senior zookeeper Allan Schmidt said Shabani was moved to Australia from The Netherlands as a two-month-old in December 1996 with his family.

When asked if he was surprised by Shabani’s popularity he said: ‘No because the Japanese are crazy… The Japanese love their fads.’

He added: ‘I would say most people would consider him fairly dashing.’

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