Mandrills live in the rain forests of equatorial Africa. Mandrills are the largest and most colourful of the Old World monkeys. They are related to baboons and even more so to drills. Their appearance is quite impressive!
* They have thick, purple and blue ridges along the nose, a golden beard, and red lips and nose.
* An adult male mandrill that has the brightest and most distinctive colours on his face seems to be most attractive to females. Colours are especially bright when they are excited, or as a result of the male hormone testosterone.
* They also have a brightly coloured butt! This is both attractive to the females, and it helps them remain visible so they can follow each other in dense forests.
* Females are about half the size of males, and they have duller colours.
* Mandrills have large cheek pouches inside of their mouths that they can store food in, to eat at a later time. That’s handy for when they want to go and eat somewhere safer. They eat fruit, seeds, nuts, roots and small animals.
* Males spend most of their time on the ground, while the females and youngsters spend most of their time in the trees. Mandrills can travel long distances on the ground, but they tend to sleep in trees and even choose different trees to sleep in on different nights.
* Mandrills communicate with rapid, deep grunts and high-pitched screams, as well as scent marks and body language.
* Mandrills have great, big canine teeth, which can be over two inches long! The teeth can be used for self-defence, but usually when they “grin to bare their teeth”, it’s a friendly gesture.
* When mandrills get upset, they pound on the ground aggressively. They have very strong, muscular arms, so this is a very clear sign to back off!
Did you know?
Mandrills were once classified as a type of baboon, and so were drills. However, although they look very similar, enough differences were found to put them into their own genus – the Mandrillus. Many people still mistake a mandrill for a baboon, and in the 1994 Disney film “The Lion King”, Rafiki was referred to as a baboon. In the 2019 film, they removed this reference, and removed his long tail, since mandrills have short tails in real life.