Drills Come and see Africa's most endangered animal
Type mammal
Size 70cm
Weight 10-50kg
Diet ominvore


Mandrillus leucophaeus
  • Summary

    Drills are large, robust monkeys from West Africa.

    Although they are sometimes called forest baboons, they are in fact more closely related to mangabeys than baboons. Males are much heavier and bigger than females and have shiny black mask-like faces. Males can weigh up to 50kg, while females usually weigh about 10kg.

    Drills are active during the day and spend at least half of their active time on the ground. In the evening they move up on trees to sleep. They are swift runners and can also swim. Drills can form very large socalled ‘super-groups’ or ‘hordes’ of up to 400 individuals, though smaller units averaging 20-30 animals are usually observed.

    In May 2015 Ineke gave birth to a male, Ruan and in October 2016 Bimba gave birth to a female, Lewa. Ineke has recently given birth to a female meaning we now have 3 juveniles in our group of drills. Rourke is dad to both Ruan, Lewa and Ineke's new baby.

  • Dietary

    Drills are omnivorous, but not much is known about their diet composition in the wild.

    They eat fruits, seeds, insects, molluscs, nuts, leaves, flowers, pith, roots, tubers, fungi, eggs, and small to medium sized vertebrates.

  • Habitat

    Drills live in forests and associated grasslands from sea level up to 2,000 metres in the wild.

    There are two subspecies; the mainland drill from Nigeria and Cameroon and the smaller, the Bioko drill from Bioko Island in Equatorial Guinea.

    At Bristol Zoo we are keeping a family of mainland drills.

    Animal Habitat Range

  • Conservation

    Drills are classified as Endangered, which indicates a high risk of extinction.

    Both subspecies are among the highest conservation priority of all African primates. They have been eliminated from much of their small historic range by commercial bushmeat hunting and habitat loss.

    Drills are a preferred target for bushmeat hunters and are hunted with shotguns and with dogs. As a result of very intense hunting, large drill ‘super-groups’ have rarely been seen in Nigeria since the mid 1980s. Drills occur in a few protected areas but their protection is not effectively enforced in any of them.

    IUCN Red List species link

  • Did you know...

    The more dominant a male is, the more colourful is his bottom!

  • Where to find us at Bristol Zoo

    You can find our drills opposite the Main Entrance

    Bristol Zoo Gardens Map


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