Mandrill, a large, colorful monkey of western Africa. The adult male is nearly three feet (90 cm) long. Its large head has an orange-yellow beard and is topped with shaggy, brown hair. The red nose has patches of blue on either side. The rump is bare and reddish.

Which Old World Monkey Is Bigger Than a Baboon?

A male mandrill is the only monkey that is bigger than a baboon. This powerful Old World monkey lives in dense forests in western Africa. It can grow to a length of 31 inches (79 centimeters) from head to tail. Like baboons, female mandrills are much smaller than males.

A mandrill has a long snout and sharp canines—just as a baboon does. It also has a thick body and arms that are longer than its legs. But instead of a long tail, a mandrill has a short stump.

Like baboons, mandrills spend most of their time on the ground. And like baboons, they also form troops. Mandrill troops can have as many as 95 members.

Mandrills mostly eat fruits and seeds. They also eat insects. Mandrills often find insects to eat by turning over large rocks.

Why Are Mandrills So Colorful?

Adult male mandrills have long, bluish-white snouts. The snout has a bright red streak right down the middle. It catches the eye, and that’s exactly what the snout is designed to do.

A male mandrill’s color is very important. The more colorful a male is, the more successful he is within a mandrill troop. The males with the most colorful snouts are the most dominant. They lead the troop and protect it from enemies. These males also get the most attention from the females.

Male mandrills also have colorful backsides. They often lead the troop through thick forests. Scientists believe that the bright red and blue make it easier for the rest of the troop to follow.

The common mandrill is Mandrillus sphinx of the family Cercopithecidae.