Residing in eastern Africa, Mandrills are the world’s largest monkeys (but not of apes)

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Mandrills are noted as being exceptionally colorful by mammalian standards. This beauty has red nostrils and lips, a yellow beard, and a white tuft; and is one of two species assigned to the genus Mandrillus, along with the drill. Mandrills mostly live in large groups in tropical rainforests. Its hairless face has an elongated muzzle with distinctive characteristics, such as a red stripe down the middle and protruding blue ridges on the sides.

The mandrill is considered vulnerable and is affected by deforestation and hunting for bushmeat, which is the more direct threat. Mandrills live in tropical rainforests and are the heaviest monkey. They have vibrantly colored rumps.


Population est.
Equatorial Guinea

Did you know?

  • The binomial name of this monkey is Mandrillus sphinx, and it is believed to be inspired by the mythical figure of Greece, the Sphinx, which has a human head and an animal body.
  • They are the most colorful, as well as the largest, species of monkey on the globe.
  • Buffon researched and named these’ ‘great baboons,’ ‘tufted apes, and ‘ribbed-nose baboons’ as a mandrill. However, the first discovery and existence of the mandrill is represented by an illustration by Swiss naturalist and renowned encyclopaedist Conrad Gesner. He thought that this rather stubbly and dog-like creature might be some type of hyena!
  • The wise, colorful knowledge-keeper monkey character Rafiki in Disney’s iconic The Lion King, who guides Simba, is none other than a Mandrill!
  • Mandrills live in troops, called hordes, with hundreds of individuals. The largest observably seen horde had more than 1,300 mandrills, making it the largest non-human gathering ever recorded.
  • Mandrill genetic studies and genomic resources are sparse, particularly when compared to other primate species.
  • Although there are no estimates of the population for the present, experts thought that over the previous 24 years, their numbers may have fallen by more than 30%. Their natural range has experienced extensive habitat destruction, but it has also been compounded worse due to the more direct threat of hunting for food.
  • The bushmeat trade places a high priority on mandrills, especially huge males. Because they are slow to mature and have a long lifespan (over~ 30 years), prolonged poaching pressure has had a significant impact on their populations.
  • The first instance of the soil-dwelling, brain-eating amoeba Balamuthia mandrillaris was found in the brain of a mandrill in the San Diego Wild Animal Park in 1986.
  • Mandrills possess unusually long canines that can be used for self-defense; however, showing (flashing) them off is typically a sign of friendship in mandrills.

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No