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Are Mandrills Dangerous? (Answered)

Mandrills are among the most colorful primates on the planet. If you’ve ever seen a mandrill, you’ve probably noticed its large body and canine teeth, which may have inspired you to wonder: are mandrills dangerous?

Mandrills are frequently confused with baboons due to their size and physical characteristics, but they’re a completely different species. You can better understand the behavior of mandrills by knowing whether these animals are dangerous or not. In this article, we’ll talk about this and more.

Key takeaways:

  • Mandrills are the largest monkeys, measuring 61 to 76 cm in length.
  • Mandrills are gentle creatures, but they can become aggressive when threatened.
  • Leopards and snakes are among the predators that prey on mandrills.
  • Up to a thousand of these animals can live together in a troop.

Are mandrills dangerous?

Mandrills are naturally shy, but don’t be fooled—they can be dangerous when provoked. These monkeys may have the tendency to attack when they feel threatened, just like any other animal.

Mandrills are known to use their razor-sharp teeth as weapons, causing serious injuries. They’ll also use their powerful limbs to strike the ground. Also, keep in mind that these monkeys live in groups, and it’s best not to get too close to them to avoid harm.


A mandrill resting | Image by John Leong from Pixabay

A mandrill is an Old World monkey found in southwestern Cameroon, western Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and southwestern Congo forests. These monkeys are known for their colorful faces, which include red noses and blue muzzle sides. It has a short, thick tail and brown to black fur with yellowish-tan markings on the face and body.

Males and females can be distinguished by the color of their faces and the areas around their genitals. Females have duller colors and red genital and anal areas, whereas males have brighter colors and multicolored genital areas with red, pink, blue, and purple skin.

Is the mandrill the biggest monkey?

Young male mandrill
Young male mandrill

When standing on all fours, the average monkey measures 20 to 50 cm, while the mandrill measures 61 to 76 cm. This makes the mandrill the largest of all monkeys, with females weighing up to 33 pounds and males weighing up to 81 pounds. However, they’re not the largest primate on the planet, as some primates may still be larger than them.

Are mandrills friendly?

Mandrills are gentle and peaceful creatures living in the Congo’s forest. These primates live near rivers or lakes, where they drink water and eat tree fruit. Except when provoked, mandrills aren’t typically easily irritated.

They’re calm animals in nature, and while their teeth may appear frightening and intimidating, these creatures don’t bite unless they’re threatened. Mandrills are also omnivorous, eating only plants and small animals. Their diet consists of fruits, leaves, insects, worms, lizards, and occasionally snakes.

Mandrill vs. gorilla

Mandrill and gorilla
Mandrill and gorilla

Gorillas are more powerful than mandrills. Gorillas are the largest primates, with a larger body mass than mandrills. Their muscles are also more powerful, with the ability to crush skulls with their hands.

This is due to gorillas’ larger size as well as their adaptations for strength. Gorillas have thicker bones and more muscle fibers than mandrills.

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Mandrills are smaller on average than gorillas, but they can still be powerful when necessary. They can tear food with their teeth and even use them to defend themselves because of how sharp they’re.

Mandrill’s Human Attack

Mandrill attacks on humans are extremely rare and may occur only if they feel threatened by their presence. This primate, which lives in West African rainforests, can be very defensive when it comes to protecting the area where they live or the food they have found.

Humans are known to hunt them for meat in some areas. In such cases, the animals may use their long canines as a weapon against an intruder, but this is unusual because humans don’t pose a threat to them.

Mandrills: Prey or Predator?

Mandrill standing
Mandrill standing | image by Eugene Kim via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Mandrills are monkeys that can be both predators and prey. Though these animals hunt smaller animals, they’re also frequently hunted by larger animals.

They are omnivores, meaning they consume both plants and meat. Fruit, leaves, insects, small mammals, and reptiles are among their favorite foods. They also consume eggs from bird nests on occasion.

But large snakes, leopards, and crowned hawk eagles are also among their predators. Humans are also a predator of mandrills, as some hunt them for their meat.

Behavior of Mandrill

The most important thing to know about mandrill’s social structure is that they’re composed of a few up to a thousand individuals called troops. Small groups of mandrills can also combine to form a larger group.

Mandrills are very social creatures who enjoy each other’s company. However, they can still be territorial animals, so each territory is designated by a scent to let other mandrills know where the boundaries are.

Each troop is led by a dominant male who is allowed to mate with all of the females in the group. Other males in the troop will leave when they reach maturity and form their own troop.

Social behavior is also recognized based on their colors, such as the intensification of blue color in their buttocks’ pad, which indicates excitement, and a bright rump, which indicates receptiveness in females.

Final Thoughts

Mandrills are generally calm animals, but you should never underestimate their ability to fight back if they feel threatened. They have sharp teeth and will use them to protect themselves if they have to.

This is why it’s so important to keep a safe distance from mandrills and never keep them as pets—mandrills belong in the wild, where they can live freely without being confined or domesticated.

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