With brightly colored animals often going viral on social media, we have noticed people asking for a number of more exotic looking animals that have unique colors.
After publishing our article going over green mammals, we have noticed more and more people specifically asking about blue mammals.
Although most mammals do not have the natural ability to produce a blue pigment, there are a small number that can with a small number of other animals that produce a color that is technically grey but can look blue in certain light conditions.
Due to seeing so many people thinking that there are no blue mammals as well as so many people specifically reaching out about blue mammals, we have decided to publish this dedicated article on the subject.
Our hope is that we will be able to help our readers better understand the various blue mammals out there as well bring some specific types of blue mammals to the attention of our readers.
We have added our table of contents below so you are able to quickly and easily skip to specific sections of our article to get to specific animals if needed too.
Are There Any Blue Mammals?
There are three main types of blue mammals with most being some form of cetacean such as whales and dolphins.
There are also a number of primates that are able to produce a blue pigment on parts of their body such as the mandrill, golden snub-nosed monkey, and the de brazza monkey.
We also have the “blue wildebeest” which is also a mammal and can look blue in some lighting conditions due to its unique grey coat catching the light in different ways.
Although it is difficult to duplicate this effect with the blue wildebeest on camera due to the way the optics work, the human eye can see them as a surprising shade of blue.
There are a few other mammals that look blue in certain light but are actually grey too but the effect is no where near as obvious of that on the blue wildebeest so we will not be including them in this article.
We also want to quickly mention that there are mammals like humans that are able to produce a blue pigment in our eyes but we will not be including these either due to it being such a small amount of blue.
There are various cetaceans that are blue mammals with the majority being whales but there are a small number of dolphins that are also able to produce blue pigments too.
Depending on the temperature of the water, the blue can range from an obvious blue to a shade of grey though with no cetaceans having any bright blue pigments.
A large number of people don’t realise that cetaceans are mammals due to living in the oceans but they are. An easy way to remember what ocean-dwelling animals are mammals is the fin on their tail with a horizontal tail fin being a mammal and a verticle tail fin being a fish.
This is due to evolution and the way the spine has evolved in cetaceans from when they were land-dwelling mammals with it being easier to swim with a horizontal tail for them with fish having a different spine layout and a verticle tail fin being better for them.
The most obvious blue cetacean is the blue whale but there is also Blainville’s beaked whale, the Sei whale, Rorquals, Baleen whales, and Balaenoptera.
This is the widest range of blue mammals on the planet that also have the largest amount of blue pigment on their body due to the majority of their back and sides being blue.
The mandrill is one of the more well known blue mammals and the only blue mammal that produces a bright blue pigment on its actual skin.
The majority of the other blue mammals produce a dark blue/grey pigment on their skin or a bright blue pigment on their fur making the mandrill unique.
Unlike many other mammals, both male and female mandrills can have decorative faces depending on the time of year and although a female mandrills face has a higher ratio or red and pink with a lighter shade of blue, they can still produce the blue pigment.
The male mandrill is the one with the brighter blue pigment and it tends to be more prominent with there usually being an equal mix of red and blue on their face.
The bright colors on mandrills can fade slightly depending on their diet and if it is breeding season or not.
Even when the blue is faded, the looks more like a pale blue that is still surprisingly prominent with the bright blue usually being more common during the breeding season.
The Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey
The golden snub-nosed monkey has a pale blue around its eyes, nose and mouth with the rest of its coat being golden or orange depending on the time of year.
Being a primate it is another mammal that is naturally able to produce blue pigment but the blue is limited to the face of the monkey.
Depending on the time of year and the diet of the golden snub-nosed monkey, the blue coloration can fade to a level where it looks almost white rather than blue.
This can also be due to the temperature that the monkey lives in too but the color fade is usually more commonly due to diet and the time of the year.
Both male and female golden snub-nosed monkeys have the blue around their eyes, nose, and mouth too with there usually being no change in color due to the monkey being male or female either.
The blue on their coat is such a high contrast to the rest of their coat and it is believed that the golden snub-nosed monkey evolved to have the blue in these areas to make it look more intimidating and appear to have a larger mouth to scare off potential predators.
The De Brazza’s Monkey
The de brazza’s monkey is a unique mammal able to produce blue pigment as it can appear blue in multiple locations depending on the situation.
Its “beared” is actually white but can appear blue at times due to algae building up in it and depending on the light it can appear to have a shad of blue on its back but male de brazza’s monkeys have a blue scrotum during the breeding season making them a mammal that can produce blue pigment.
This only occurs in the male de brazza’s monkey with the female only having a blue look to her beard if there is an algae build up and a slight blue sheen to her back depending on how her light hits her.
Males don’t start to develop their blue scotum until they are fully grown adults either so the blue pigment usage is rare with this particular species.
It can also be difficult to see the blue on a de brazza’s monkey kept in captivity as males can become aggressive during the breeding season with some zoo’s keeping them separate from the rest of the monkeys. If the light is correct though, you may still be able to see the blue sheen on their back.
The Tantalus Monkey
The tantalus monkey can have a blue scrotum depending on the time of year with it turning a bright blue in the breeding season and then the blue color fading in the off-season.
The blue is very bright and obvious to see on the monkey due to the rest of its coat being different shades of grey.
Just like the de brazza’s monkey covered earlier in the article, it can be difficult to see the blue scotum of the tantalus monkey if kept in captivity as the males can become aggressive in the breeding season.
This is why some zoos will keep the males in their own enclosure that may not have public viewing during the breeding season so small children don’t see the monkeys fighting.
Unlike some of the other blue mammals on our list that can have different parts of their body or large areas with the blue pigment, the tantalus monkey is a little different.
The blue pigment only shows on male monkeys around their scrotum and only during the breeding season.
The Blue Wildebeest
Although the name of the blue wildebeest suggests that is it blue, it is actually a light shade of grey but can appear blue to the human eye depending on the lighting.
It is difficult to capture this effect with a camera but the human eye is able to see the blue sheen on the wildebeest in the correct lighting.
This is why we have left the blue wildebeest until last as although the animal can appear to be a blue mammal, it is actually grey and its grey color is obvious unless the lighting conditions are perfect.
The wildebeest usually need their coat to be dry for the blue sheen to appear too and if they are wet then it tends not to work.
That brings our article going over the various blue mammals on the planet to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you and that we have been able to bring some lesser-known mammals that are able to produce a blue pigment to your attention too. Unlike some other types of animals, mammals really don’t have that many options for blue pigments making blue mammals much rarer than other blue animal types.