- The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids


Mandrill Facts

Size Up to 30 inch (76 cm)
Speed Up to 24.8 mph (40 km/h)
Weight Up to 55 lb (25 kg)
Lifespan 20-28 years
Food Fruits, seeds, little animals
Predators Leopards, eagles, snakes
Habitat Central Africa
Order Primates
Family Old world monkeys
Scientific name Mandrillus sphinx
Characteristics Most colorful mammal

Main Characteristics

Mandrills are primates that live in Africa. They are closely related to baboons, macaques and langurs. Apes like gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzee grow larger and heavier than the mandrill, but the mandrill is the heaviest and largest monkey!


How and Where Do Mandrills Live?

Mandrills usually live together in groups of around 20 animals in the dense rainforest, with the male leading the group, which has the brightest and most beautiful colors.

Anatomy and Appearance

Why Are Mandrills Brightly Colored?

The mandrill has bright blue and purple cheeks, a bright red nose and lips and hairs ranging from olive green to golden. It seems to have fallen into a couple of paint pots, no other animal is as multi-colored as the mandrill! Particularly high-ranking, strong males have strong, bright colors. They also have more testosterone (male hormones) than the other males. A brightly colored female tells the males: I am healthy and ready to mate.

Mandrills Have Extremely Long Canine Teeth

Sometimes, mandrills shake their heads and “grin” to show their teeth, which can be more than 6 cm long. This is both funny and daunting, although it is a friendly gesture between the animals.

Mandrill Mandrill - Photo: tamarasovilj/Shutterstock


What Does the Mandrill Eat?

Mandrills are omnivores, but they prefer to cover fruits, seeds, leaves and mushrooms. Insects, frogs and lizards are also on their menu.

Mandrills Store Food in Their Cheek Pouches

Mandrills have large cheek pouches, which they fill with food when they are not hungry, so that they can enjoy a snack later-on.

Mandrill Mandrill - Photo: Kitch Bain/Shutterstock

Are Mandrills Dangerous?

Mandrills are strong. They are confident and fearless, too. They defend their territory, and if someone (like a human or an enemy) enters it, they can become aggressive. They hit the ground vigorously and, if in doubt, they attack. Somehow that's understandable. Imagine a stranger walking into your apartment without asking.

Mandrills are Good on Foot

The “dry-nosed” primates (Haplorhini) walk long distances on the ground, but they are also good at climbing and like to sleep in the trees (another one every day, so that it does not get boring).

Are Mandrills Related to Baboons?

Mandrills are also called forest baboons. They are actually related to the baboons, but they live in a different habitat.

Mandrill Mandrill - Photo: davemhuntphotography/Shutterstock


Mandrill mums usually have only one baby. At birth it has a dark pelage. The little eyes are open and it already clings to its mother’s tummy. At the age of two months it loses its baby fluff. Then the “real” pelage begins to grow.

Fun Facts

The Mandrill Is a Disney Star

In Disney’s “Lion King“ you can see a mandrill: the wise Rafiki, who blesses the lion baby Simba.

The Mandrill Is Related To:

  • Baboons
  • Macaques

Animals in the Same Biome:

Mandrill Mandrill - Photo: Anatoliy Lukich/Shutterstock

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