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Mandrill

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A mandrill photographed at Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas

About the Mandrill

Mandrills are the largest of all monkeys. They are shy and reclusive primates that live only in the rain forests of equatorial Africa.

Distinctive Colors and Teeth

Mandrills are extremely colorful, perhaps more so than any other mammal. They are easily identifiable by the blue and red skin on their faces and their brightly hued rumps. These distinctive colors become brighter when the animal is excited. They also have extremely long canine teeth that can be used for self-defense—though baring them is typically a friendly gesture among mandrills.

Behavior

These are primarily terrestrial monkeys, and they move with long arms to forage on the ground for fruits, roots, and animals such as insects, reptiles, and amphibians. Their cheeks have built-in pouches that are used to store snacks for later consumption. Though mandrills spend much of their time on the ground, they can climb trees and do so to sleep.

Mandrills live in troops, which are headed by a dominant male and include a dozen or more females and young. They also gather in multi-male/multi-female groups that can include some 200 individuals.

Threats to Survival

These colorful primates are threatened. They are often hunted as bushmeat, and many Africans consider them to be a delicacy. Mandrills are feeling the squeeze of spreading agriculture and human settlement—both are shrinking their rain forest homeland.


WATCH: Why Do These Monkeys Have Big, Colorful Butts?

Turns out the bright red and blue on a male mandrill’s backside really draws the eye – especially the ladies’.