Portrait of a Backlit Male Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx). By Andreas Rose | Shutterstock.com
Portrait of a Backlit Male Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx). By Andreas Rose | Shutterstock.com

About mandrills.

They are the largest monkeys on earth, males reaching almost one meter in occasions.

Mandrills are semi-terrestrial animals that spend the nights on tree branches sleeping at a height of 5 meters and the days on solid ground.

They show clear sexual dimorphism: males are larger, their face and rear end have brighter colors, and they have bigger canines and a yellow beard.

The showy facial colors of male mandrills become brighter when the animal is sexually excited. During the mating season, the rear end of females swells and develops a bright red color.

It is directly related to the baboon. Time ago the mandrill was thought to be a baboon subspecies, but nowadays it is considered a different species.

Mandrill males use their long canines mainly to intimidate predators and other monkeys.

Mandrills live in large groups called troops (of up to more than 1,000 members). They are comprised of one dominant male and many females with their babies. Males that don’t lead a troop live a solitary life, but they enter the troops during the mating season.

They are very intelligent animals. It is known that they can use tools to perform tasks (a scientist from Durham University, in the United Kingdom, filmed a mandrill stripping a twig and using it to clean its toenails).

Their size is so big that they have few predators. Main ones are leopards, large snakes and birds of prey, that attack mainly younger, more vulnerable mandrills.

They communicate with one another through scent marks, gestures and multiple vocalizations (high-pitched sounds and growls). Males display their canines also for communication purposes: they shake their head and expose their canines to show excitement, but their looking to the ground and slapping it indicates aggression.

Newborn baby mandrills have strong arms to cling to their mother’s belly and they stay there the first days. When their weight increases, they travel on the mother’s back.

It is currently in the list of protected species due to the population decline deriving from deforestation and poaching.

Portrait of the adult male mandrill. By Curioso | Shutterstock.com
Portrait of the adult male mandrill. By Curioso | Shutterstock.com
Mandrillus sphinx55 – 95 cm (22 – 37 in)
Cercopithecidae10 – 37 kg (22 – 82 lb)
Primates20 years
Mammalia175 days
UnknownFruit, sprouts, leaves, roots, insects, mushrooms and seeds
Evergreen tropical rainforest and mountain forest.West of the tropical areas in Africa, from Equatorial Guinea to Congo.

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