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White Ape

The White Apes (or Great White Apes) are a feared race of semi-intelligent, gorilla-like monsters who inhabit the wilds of Barsoom.



They are large creatures with an average height of 12 to 15 feet, though some are known to be as small as eight feet. Like the Green Martians, they possess two sets of arms, the lower arms serving either as extra hands or extra feet, but they prefer to walk on two legs. As with almost all other Martian fauna, they are almost completely hairless, save for a shock of white hair on top of their heads.

White Ape - John Carter, Warlord of Mars

White Ape - John Carter, Warlord of Mars


The White Apes are incredibly violent creatures. It is said that they are one of the primary causes of death among Martian children. But they are sociable among their own, gathering in mating pairs, or even tribes. They are also somewhat intelligent. They are known to use weapons such as clubs, or even wear the skin of animals such as Banths. They also seem to be partially reasonable creatures.

Hovan Du, who possessed half the brain of a white ape, managed to negotiate with a group of these creatures for safe passage, in exchange for Paxton and his companion leaving the gate to Ras Thavas' lab open. Paxton asked Hovan Du why the apes requested this, but Hovan Du only replied that the apes' reasons were their own.


The white apes have two primary habitats, the dead cities of Barsoom, and the few remaining fertile areas on the planet particularly the Toonolian Marshes and the Valley Dor.


  • The White Apes are one of the few Barsoomian creatures not given a name, odd considering that they are likely the most common creature in the series. In the non-canon anthology New Adventures on Barsoom they are given the name Ilthur.
  • According to the non-canon story A Friend in Thark, the white apes are the only viviparous animal on Barsoom, that is to say capable of giving birth to live young.
    • In A Princess of Mars, it is stated that White Apes are the only extant mammal species on the planet, thus being the only species of animal, it is assumed, who did not lay eggs.
  • In the Disney film the white apes are blind and nocturnal. The Jeddaks wear the fur of a white ape to signify their position, a custom that Thark, Helium, and Zodanga all seem to recognize.