Mandrill

Category: Wildlife

Mandrills are large monkeys that live in the tropical rainforests of western sub-Saharan Africa. Though they resemble baboons and were once grouped with them, they are now are found in their own genus, Mandrillus.

Mandrill

Mandrill

Scientific & Common Names

Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Cercopithecidae
Genera: Mandrillus
Species: M. sphinx
Common Names: Mandrill

Characteristics

Mandrills are the largest monkey species, weighing up to 70 lbs. The males are known for their brightly colored, bare faces which consists of a red nose with prominent blue ridges on either side.

Females are smaller and less colorful. The bright colors of the male help it attract females for mating.

Breeding

Mating season for Mandrills is between June and October, and they breed every two years. They give birth between January and May, with gestation lasting 175 days. Females raise the young, with multiple female relatives providing care for each juvenile. Mandrill groups are typically composed of females and young males; at around six years of age, males go off to live alone and return during breeding periods.

Behavior

Mandrills live in large groups called “hordes”. These hordes can have more than 600 individuals, and the largest ever recorded contained over 1,300.

Mandrills are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals. They will consume fruit, mushrooms, insects and other invertebrates, eggs, and small vertebrates including birds, frogs, rodents, tortoises and even porcupines.

Mandrills must watch out for leopards, and young mandrills are preyed upon by eagles and pythons. While they are typically found on the ground, mandrills are good climbers and sleep in trees.

History

Mandrills were originally classified with the baboons in the genus Papio, but were later reshuffled into their own genus, Mandrillus, which also includes the smaller and less colorful drill. The closest relatives to the mandrill and drill are the mangabeys, specifically those of the genus Cercocebus.

Present Status

Mandrills are considered Vulnerable, as their range is quite small and deforestation threatens their habitat. They are also hunted for their meat, and are especially vulnerable in the Republic of Congo.