Mandrill Facts - Animals of Africa

Mandrills display vibrant colors on their faces and rumps.
Mandrills display vibrant colors on their faces and rumps.

The Mandrill (Mandrill sphinx) is a primate that belongs to the Cercopithecidae family. In appearance, Mandrills resemble baboons. They live in tropical rainforests in Africa, and are listed as vulnerable by the ICUN.

Physical Appearance

Mandrills have a dark grey pelage or olive green color with a white belly. Mandrills do not have hair on the face and its muzzle is elongated. The nostrils and the lips are red. It has white tufts and a yellow beard. Mandrills have several colors around the anus and genitals. The colors range from blue, purple, pink, and scarlet. Males’ canine teeth are 6.35cm while females’ are 1cm long. In both male and female Mandrills, chest glands enhance olfactory communication.

In terms of weight, male Mandrill weighs between 19kg to 37kg while female weighs 10kg to 15kg. Mandrills are shorter in height and weight compared to baboons. The males’ length ranges from 75cm to 90cm while females’ length ranges from 55cm to 66cm long. Males shoulder height ranges from 45cm to 50cm while females range from 55cm to 65cm. Mandrills are short, muscular, and compact in shape. They also have long and thick front limbs with a very short tail.

Habitat and Range

Mandrills dwell in tropical rainforests. They also live in riparian forests, flooded forests, streambeds, and rocky forests. However, Mandrills also thrive in grassland areas found within the forests they dwell.

Mandrills thrive in Gabon, Congo, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea. The distribution of the Mandrills is greatly influenced by three rivers that border their ecosystem: River Sanaga, Ogooue River, and White River. Research reports indicate that, Mandrills in the south and north of river Ogooue differ genetically from other species.


The Mandrills are omnivorous. They feed on many species of plants. Mandrills like eating fruits, fibers, and tree barks. They also eat soil and mushrooms. The long canine teeth have also given Mandrills a chance to be carnivorous. Due to this fact, Mandrills feed on tortoise, porcupines, birds, and rats. Given a chance, Mandrills also feed on big vertebrates like small antelopes and young Bay duikers. They also feed on invertebrates like spiders, beetles, scorpions, and ants among others.


Mandrills always dwell in groups called ‘hordes’. A horde may compose of between 615 to 845 Mandrills. The largest horde ever observed contained 1,300 individuals. Male mandrills are solitary and only join the horde when females are ready to mate. Joining the horde only lasts three months every year.

Mandrills communicate by presenting a ‘’silent and bared-teeth face’’ with erect head crest. This shows a peaceful style of communication. Mandrills also show that they submissive by presenting their rump. If aggravated, Mandrills bob their heads, stares, and slaps the ground.


Mandrills mate in the season between June and October. This is the time when the female sexual swellings occur. Mandrills breed once every two years. During estrus, the male guards the female. The dominant males sire off springs. There is also a sexual dominance among the females. Dominant females begin reproduction at earlier ages and have shorter interbirth intervals. Gestation period takes 175 days. Female Mandrills give birth from January to May. In Gabon, most births take place during the wet seasons of January and March.


More in Environment