The Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) is a primate of the Cercopithecidae (Old-world monkeys) family. It is closely related to the baboons and even more closely to the Drill. Both the Mandrill and the drill were once classified as baboons in genus Papio. The Mandrill is the world’s largest monkey species.

The Mandrill is recognized by its olive-colored fur and colorful face and rump amongst males. It has a coloration that grows stronger with sexual maturity and females have duller colors. This coloration becomes more pronounced as the monkey becomes excited. The coloration on the rump is thought to enhance visibility in the thick vegetation of the rainforest and aids in-group movement.

Males can weigh up to 60 lb (30 kg), females about half as much. They can grow to be about 39 in (1 m) long and can survive up to 25 years in captivity. Females reach sexual maturity at about 3.5 years.

The Mandrill is found in the tropical rainforests of southern Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Congo. The Sanaga River bound its distribution to the north and the Ogooué and Ivindo rivers to the east. Recent research suggests that Mandrill populations north and south of the Ogooué River are genetically different.

Mandrills are social creatures and may be found in groups of up to 800 individuals. They are made up of mostly females and young led by a dominant male. Most adult males are solitary. It is impossible to accurately estimate group size in the forest.

The Mandrill is an omnivore and acquires its food by foraging (mainly plants, insects and smaller animals) from the ground. It is a land animal. Its main natural predators are leopards.

A large group of Mandrills can cause significant damage to crops in a very short time. They are widely perceived as pests.

Mandrills are hunted for food throughout their range, either with guns or using dogs and nets. In Cameroon, habitat loss to agriculture is also a threat.

The Mandrill does not normally hunt larger prey, but males have been observed to hunt and consume a small antelope.


The gestation (pregnancy) time for the Mandrill is 6 to 7 months. The young are usually born between January and April.


During courtship, the male will walk after the female as the female leads. The male will then make little courtship noises, baring his teeth and vocalizing softly. If the female likes what she hears she will orientate her rear towards the male. The male will mount her.


Mandrill infants are born with their eyes open and with fur. They have a black coat and pink skin for the first two months. They cling to their mother’s belly immediately and can support their own weight. Mothers form bonds with their children. These bonds last into adulthood with the daughters. The bonds with the sons last only until his sexual maturity. These bonds entail the two sitting with each other and grooming each other.