The mandrill is not related to the great apes but is thought to be closely related to the baboon, another medium-sized African primate that is found in eastern and southern Africa. The mandrill was even once thought to be a sub-species of baboon but this is now not believed to be the case.
The Mandrill is found in the tropical rainforests and occasionally grasslands of southern Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Congo in western-central Africa. The mandrill's habitat is bordered by the Sanaga River to the north and the Ogooué and Ivindo rivers to the east. Recent research suggests that mandrill populations north and south of the Ogooué river are so genetically different that they are in fact separate subspecies.
Mandrills have distinctively coloured noses and rumps which make them stand out in the forest. The colours of the females nose are much duller than the males, and the females are also nearly half the size of the male. The male mandrill has incredibly long teeth, which he bares as a caution to approachers. The male mandrill has these adaptations so that he can show himself off to other mandrill and also intimidate predators.
Mandrills are sociable animals and inhabit areas of forest in large groups known as a troop. The mandrill troop primarily includes female mandrills and their young who are led by a single dominant male mandrill. The alpha male mandrill both mates with his females and protects them. Most adult male mandrills that are not leading a troop tend to be solitary animals.
Mandrills are omnivorous animals and therefore eat almost anything. The mandrill primarily feeds on fruits, berries, seeds, nuts, roots, leaves, insects and even small mammals and reptiles. Most of the mandrills diet is found at ground level or just above.
Due to their large size, mandrills have few predators in their natural environment. The leopard is the main predator of the mandrill, along with large snakes and birds of prey, who prey more upon the mandrill young. The human is also one of the mandrill's main predators as they have hunted the mandrill over the years for meat.
Today the mandrill is considered to be an animal species that is vulnerable to extinction, as mandrill population numbers have been declining due to over-hunting an habitat loss.