(Mandrillus sphinx)




Facts about this animal

The mandrill is a large, colourful and highly sexually dimorphic short tailed primate species. Males can grow up to twice the size of females, reaching a head-body-length of almost 90 cm, height at shoulder of over 50 cm, and a body-weight of up to 50 kg. Mandrills have a short tail of 6-9 cm. The bare face is characterized by six prominent blue ridges along the length of the nose. The area between each set of ridges is a bright scarlet extending forward to the muzzle and around the nostrils. Females have less pronounced ridges, lacking the purple coloration in the grooves and the scarlet is replaced by black. The buttock pads of both males and females are furless and have a lilac tinge with reddish purple edges. The fur on the upper side is olive green or dark grey and the underparts are yellowish.


Mandrills live in groups of one adult male, up to 10 adult females and their offspring. Seasonally these groups may come together to form larger troops of up to 200 animals. Adult males without harems are solitary. Preferred habitat is dense rainforest where the heavier males travel along the ground and the smaller females and babies are found mid-level in the trees. After foraging on the ground for fruits, plant material, mushrooms, invertebrates, and sometimes small vertebrates, they go into trees for sleeping in the late afternoon.


Reproduction appears to be seasonal with most births occurring between the months of January and April. Maturity in females is reached about three or four years of age, two years later in males. Gestation is 168-176 days.

Did you know?
That mandrills are threatened because they constitute an essential part of the "bush meat" which is a main protein source for many people in western Africa?


Suborder SIMIAE
Name (Scientific) Mandrillus sphinx
Name (English) Mandrill
Name (French) Mandrill
Name (German) Mandrill
Name (Spanish) Mandril
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



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Range Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon
Habitat Rainforests and sub-tropical forests
Wild population Unknown, but undoubtedly has diminished over the years. In some places has been exterminated locally and the largest populations are found in Gabon (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 493 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo



How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 33 or 34 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Robert Young

Why do zoos keep this animal

The mandrill is less threatened than its cousin, the drill, but it is very attractive due to its colouration, and being social, and diurnal, is a perfect ambassador species for the threatened fauna and habitat of the Central African rainforest.


Mandrills may be kept in mixed exhibits with larger ungulates, e.g. pygmy hippos.