MANDRILL BABOON (mandrillus sphinx)
Habitat: Equatorial Africa in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo
Diet: Omnivorous - Fruits, nuts, other plant material, small animals and insects.
Gestation: 7 and 1/2 months
The largest and most colorful of the baboons, the Mandrill is on the endangered species list due to habitat destruction and killing by natives for food (bush meat). The brightly colored buttocks and facial markings of the adult males serve as a guiding beacon to the rest of the troop as they are foraging through the dense jungle foliage.
The adult male mandrill is almost twice the size of the adult females and is the only member of the troop that is highly colored. This is called sexual dimorphism, when the male and female of a species are different in size and coloration.
Mandrills live in family groups of one adult male, 5 to 10 females and various age offspring. The male vigorously defends his troop against leopards, pythons, etc. The yawning gesture that the male displays is a threat to would-be male rivals or predators, allowing him to display the large canine teeth which he is quite willing to use if necessary. Despite their formidable appearance and reputation for ferocity, mandrills are actually quite gentle and adapt well to captivity. Mandrills have been known to live up to 46 years in zoological parks, which is much longer than they would in the wild.