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Baby Mandrill Mohawk

Dan Mongrain, aka Mongrelboy, was kind enough to share these adorable pictures of the Toronto Zoo's newborn baby mandrill. Little mandrills first cling to their moms' bellies and then ride on their backs as they grow older and larger.

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Mandrill facts courtesy of the Toronto Zoo:

Description: The Mandrill is one of 8 species of baboons. Prominent blue ridges run lengthwise down swellings on each side of the nose. A narrow septum results in nostrils close together, comma shaped and pointing downwards, (Catarrhini nostrils - or “downward pointing”, a characteristic of Old World monkeys). Canine teeth are very large. Heavy body, limbs straight and thick. The female is much smaller (about half the size of the male). Almost tail-less. On females the ishial callosities are smaller, less brightly coloured. In oestrus the whole genitalia become swollen and bright strawberry pink. Length of head and body (male): 82.5 cm Height at shoulder (male): 50 cm Weight of male: 50 kg Weight of female: 50% of male

Distribution: Equatorial West Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo Republic. Between sea level and 1,000 m altitude.

Habitat: Ground dwellers in humid forest areas of coastal regions and savanna grasslands in more mountainous and open rocky areas

Food: Omnivores. Fruits, nuts, plant material, beetles, grubs, worms, small snakes, lizards. Will also kill small mammals - hares, young ungulates or vervet monkeys.

Skin/Color/Coat: The male has a brown coat with white cheek whiskers, yellow beard and lighter brown crest on crown of head. The distinguishing feature of the mandrill is the large dog-like muzzle with red nostrils and stripe down the nose. Genitalia bright red, hindquarters are bare with vivid colouring suffused with red and blue, merging to mauve in places. Ishial callosities are pink with blue patches on each side. In young males the nose has red and blue colouring. The female is more drab brown and do not have the blue colouring on the ridges on the sides of the nose.

Vocalization: Mandrills are capable of a wide variety of hoots, grunts and screams although most communication within the group seems to be by facial expressions, stares and body postures.

Reproduction and Development: Year round breeding. Female is in oestrus every 33 days, shown by swelling and bright red colouring of genitalia, beginning at onset of menstruation and peaking at ovulation. Gestation period 220 - 270 days (usually about 245 days). The mother carries the very young baby ventrally, the baby clinging to the hair of the mother’s chest and supported by the mother’s hand. After 2 - 3 weeks, the baby is able to ride on the mother’s back. Sexual maturity is reached at about 3 1/2 years. Lifespan in captivity is 40 years or more.

Adaptations: Mandrills live in groups of up to 50 individuals with the females outnumbering the males. There is fierce competition between males for breeding positions (possibly explaining the comparatively larger size of the males). The large canines of the male, together with its size, strength and aggressiveness, combine to establish one male to dominate over others. They search for food on the forest floor by day. They are agile climbers to escape from predators. They sleep in the middle layer of the forest canopy and range over an area of 100 square km.

Threats: Individual mandrills may be prey to leopards, cheetahs or lions. A group of males, however, are rarely attacked by an individual predator.

Status: Near threatened in many parts of its range.

Zoo Diet: Primate chow, bean sprouts, mixed fruit and vegetables, spinach, alfalfa hay, salt blocks with trace minerals, crickets, mealworms.

Barton, Maurice & Burton, Robert; The International Wildlife Encyclopedia, Volume 10, 1969, Marshall Cavendish Co., N. Y. Eimerl, Sarel and DeVore, Irven, he Primates, 1965 Life Nature Library, Time Life Books, N. Y. Kavanagh, Michael; A Complete Guide to Monkeys, Apes and other Primates, 1983, The Oregon Press Ltd. , London Nowak, Ronald, M., Walker’s Mammals of the World, Fifth Edition, Vol. 1, 1991. Robinson, Michael H. & Challinor, David; Smithsonian Guides to Zoo Animals, 1995, McMillan Publishing Co. N. Y.