Denver Zoo


The world’s most colorful mammal


Red and blue in the face
The brightly colored face—red nose with blue ridges on both sides—belongs to the main, or alpha, male. When the male gets excited, blood flowing to the face increases and the colors get bolder. Mandrills live in small to large groups consisting of one or more dominant males with harem females, babies and juveniles.

With a matching rum
The male’s rump is a rainbow of pinks, purples and blues. The bright colors may serve as a beacon for a group moving through thick, dark plant growth.

Armed to the teeth
Mandrills use their teeth when fighting. The canines are longer than those of lions and leopards. If a mandrill looks like it’s chewing gum, it’s sharpening its teeth.


©1996 Denver Zoo