Mandrills are the largest of all the monkey species and are closely related to baboons. Whereas baboons live in open spaces however, mandrills live in tropical rain forests. They are the World’s most colourful animal with large areas of brightly coloured flesh contrasting with dark brown fur.
Males are much larger than females and can reach 90cm (36”) in height and weigh up to 35Kg (77 lbs). Females average around 66cm (26”) in height and rarely exceed 14Kg (30lbs) in weight.
They live in family troops of 12 or more females and young, headed by a dominant male. Their main predators are leopards, pythons and humans and for this reason they are becoming endangered. The troops often come together in large groups of several hundred individuals and are often seen as a nuisance by local human populations who prize them as a bushmeat delicacy.
Mandrills are mainly ground-living (terrestrial) animals but they will climb trees to reach fruits and nuts and to sleep. Their diet is varied and includes nuts, fruits, roots, insects, reptiles, and amphibians. They have cheek pouches in which they can store food for a future snack.
Mandrills have a dog shaped head with large canine teeth which they often bare. In mandrill society however this is usually seen as a friendly gesture and not a sign of aggression. Their most striking features are their ridged face with its blue, red and white markings and their bright red rumps. When they get excited their colours intensify.
The Mandrill pictured here is a female who we have named Natasha.