Sri Lanka

Tufted Gray Langur, Semnopithecus priam

I spent four nights in Sri Lanka en route from Australia to Europe in 2000 for a tour organise through A. Baur & Co. Back then I described it as a pleasant country, with friendly people (barring some of the park staff) – a sort of less intense and less chaotic version of India. There are some nice national parks too, though – like India – their management can be frustratingly bureaucratic.

I was back in 2010 for just over a week, including three days mammal watching with the excellent Udithe from Bird and Wildlife Team. My assessment remains the same though the bureaucracy seemed better (or perhaps we were lucky).


I spent a night here in December 2010 and saw Indian Palm Squirrel, Indian Brown Mongoose.

Kandalama Hotel/ Dambulla

White-Spotted Chevrotain, Moschiola meminna

One night here in August 2000 produced Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel, Indian Giant Flying Squirrel, Tufted Grey Langur, Toque Macaque, White-spotted Chevrotain (mouse deer).


Lesser False Vampire Bat, Megaderma spasma

I spent three nights here in December 2010 and saw a lot including Indian Palm Squirrel, Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel, Indian Giant Flying Squirrel, Tufted Grey Langur, Toque Macaque, White-spotted Chevrotain, Golden Palm Civet, Common Palm Civet, Small Indian Civet, Grey Slender Loris, Asian Elephant, Rusty-Spotted Cat, Chital, Sambar, Black-naped Hare, Indian Flying fox, Lesser False Vampire Bat, Painted Bat, Least Pipistrelle, Black-bearded Tomb Bat, Rufous Horseshoe Bat, Indian Woolly Horseshoe Bat, Schneider’s Leafnosed Bat, Blanford’s Rat, Asiatic Climbing Rat, Eurasian Otter, Golden Jackal, Indian Gerbil, Ruddy Mongoose, Indian Grey Mongoose. See the 2010 trip report.

Sinharajah National Park

Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel, Ratufa macroura

One night in August 2000 got Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel, Layard’s Palm Squirrel (near the research station), Indian Palm Squirrel, Asian Palm Civet, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey (on the road up to the park).

Yala National Park

Toque Macaque, Macaca sinica

I was here for 2 nights in August 2000 and saw Indian Hare, Indian Palm Squirrel (common everywhere), Small Indian Civet, Asian Palm Civet (outside the park), Ruddy Mongoose, Stripe-necked Mongoose (quite lucky with this one, though the ranger knew a good spot), Golden Jackal, Sloth Bear (an unusual sighting), Indian Flying Fox, Tufted Grey Langur, Toque Macaque, Wild Boar, Malabar Red Muntjac, Sambar, Chital, Domestic (feral) Water Buffalo and Asian Elephant.

Community Reports

The World’s Best Mammalwatching

Imagine if you could see more than half of every country’s mammal species in a week …. what a wonderful world it would be. What a wonderful mammal list I would have. Well, in Sri Lanka you really can if you take a trip with Udi Hettige or the other exceptional guides at Sri Lanka’s Bird and Wildlife Team. These guys know how to find just about all creatures great and small on this beautiful island. Sri Lanka, says their website, “is not only Elephants and Leopards!”. Indeed it isn’t, and a week with this team might clock up more than 70 species including goodies like Fishing and Rusty-spotted Cats and Indian Pangolins. I only spent 72 hours with Udi in 2010 but still managed a very respectable 32 mammals. See more of the World’s Best Mammalwatching.

Community Reports

Sri Lanka, 2023: Samuel Marlin, 3 weeks & 50 species including Rusty-spotted and Fishing Cats and Indian Pangolin.

Sri Lanka, 2023: Holly Wong, 17 days & 45 species including Rusty-spotted and Fishing Cats and Indian Pangolin.

Sri Lanka, 2023: John Dixon, 10 days & about 50 species including Fishing Cat, Blue Whale and Indian Pangolin.

Sri Lanka, 2023: Steve Firth, 12 days & 40 species including Fishing Cat, Sloth Bear, Red & Gray Slender Loris and Travancore Flying Squirrel.

Sri Lanka, 2022: Jens Bokelaar, 26 days & 31 species including Gray Slender Loris, Sri Lankan Mountain Rat and Blue Whale. 

Sri Lanka, 2022: John Weir, 3 weeks & 62 species including Rusty-spotted CatFishing Cat and Indian Pangolin.

Sri Lanka, 2022: Christine Mason’s short report with species including Sloth Bear, Fishing Cat and a Pangolin.

Sri Lanka, 2022: Jilly Hancock, 2 weeks & 53 species including Leopard, Fishing Cat, Rusty-spotted Cat and Sloth Bear.

Sri Lanka, 2022: Stuart Chapman, 4 days & 27 species including Painted BatGrey and Red Slender Lorises and Indian Pangolin.

Sri Lanka, 2021: Romain Bocquier, 10 days & 43 species including Rusty-spotted and Fishing CatsSloth Bearthree civet species and much more.

Sri Lanka, 2020: Michael Johnson, 3 weeks and 24 species including Sloth Bear, Blue Whale and Flame-striped Jungle Squirrel.

Sri Lanka, 2020: Daniel Heintz, 10 days & 50 species including Fishing Cat, some nice bats and an Indian Pangolin.

Wilpattu and Sigirya, 2020: Astrid Kindsvogel, 1 week & 47 species including LeopardFishing Cat and 2(!) Indian Pangolins.

Sri Lanka, 2019: John Van Niel, 10 days & 40 species including Fishing Cat and Sloth Bear.

Sri Lanka, 2019: Matt and Maureen Steer, 5 days & 33 species including Sloth BearPainted Bat and Eurasian Otter.

Wilpattu National Park, 2019: Roary and Matilda, 4 days & 33 species including Fishing and Rusty-spotted Cats.

Sri Lanka, 2019: Miles Foster, 18 nights & 50 species including Fishing and Rusty-spotted Cats, Stripe-necked Mongoose and  Pearson’s Long-clawed Shrew.

Sri Lanka, 2019: John Wright, 2 weeks & 57 species including … well just about everything … but Indian Pangolin was the star.

Sri Lanka, 2019: Naturetrek, 14 days & 26 species including Leopard, Sloth Bear and Grey Slender Loris.

Sri Lanka, 2019: Sophie Betrisey, 17 days & 40 species including Fishing and Rusty Spotted CatsTickell’s Bat and Killer Whales.

Wilpattu National Park, 2018: Chris Daniels, 3 days & 31 species including LeopardFishing Cat and Rusty-spotted Cat.

Sri Lanka, 2018: Juan Luis Ortega Herranz, 1 week & 30 species including Fishing Cat, Rusty-spotted Cat and Sloth Bear.

Sri Lanka, 2018: Janco van Gelderen, 15 days & 30 species including Fishing CatLeopardSloth BearCrested Porcupine and Grey Slender Loris.

Sri Lanka, 2018: Andreas Jonsson, 5 days & 39 species including Rusty-spotted and Fishing CatsSloth Bear and Golden Palm Civet.

Sri Lanka, 2018: Mark Hows, 12 days & 58 species including Rusty-spotted and Fishing Cats, Grey and Red Slender Loris and Bryde’s Whale.

Sri Lanka, 2018: Stuart Chapman, 5 days & 41 species including Fishing and Rusty-spotted Cats, Leopard, Sloth Bear and Indian Porcupine.

Northern Sri Lanka, 2018: Mike Hot, 10 days and 23 species (plus ferals) including Fishing Cat and Leopard.

Wilpattu National Park and more, 2018: Wise Birding, 2 weeks &  16 species including Leopard and Purple-faced Leaf Monkey.

Sri Lanka, 2017: Tobi Lundqvist, 12 days & 63 species including Fishing and Rusty-spotted CatsLeopardBrown and Golden Palm Civets, Sloth Bear and an Etruscan Shrew.

Sri Lanka, 2017: Steve Anyon-Smith, 3 weeks & 23 species including Sloth Bear and Leopard.

Sri Lanka, 2017: Alain Guillemont, 6 nights & 33 species including Eurasian Otter, Leopard and Fishing & Rusty-spotted Cats.

Sri Lanka, 2017: Mike Richardson, 9 days & 72 species including Rusty-spotted and Fishing Cats, both Lorises, 25 species of bats and an Indian Pangolin.

Northwest Sri Lanka, 2015: Paul Carter, 1 week with some nice bats, Grey Slender Loris and a Sloth Bear.

Sri Lanka, 2015: Chris Townend, 2 weeks & 28 species including Sloth Bear, Crested Porcupine and Bryde’s Whale.

Sri Lanka & Thailand, 2014: Stefan Lithner, 2.5 weeks in Sri Lanka with about 60 species including Bryde’s and Blue Whales, Fishing and Rusty Spotted Cats, and a bunch of rodents, several shrews.

Sri Lanka, 2014: Coke Smith, 12 days & 59 species including Fishing Cat, both Golden Palm Civets, both Lorises, Leopard and Sloth Bear.

Sri Lanka, 2013: Vladimir Dinets, 2.5 weeks & most of the mammals including several shrew sp, Indian Pangolin and a Dwarf Sperm Whale.

Sri Lanka, 2013: Michel Gervais, 9 days & 48 species, including both Golden Palm Civets, both Lorises and a Fishing Cat.

Sri Lanka, 2012: Cheryl Antonucci’s excellent and detailed account of where to find all the primates of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka, 2012: Fiona Reid, 2 weeks & 61 species! A record breaking trip which had both Rusty Spotted and Fishing Cats, all the squirrels, Porcupine, Sloth Bear and Bryde’s and Dwarf Sperm Whales.

Sri Lanka, 2012: Rauno Väisänen, 1 week & 41 species including Rusty-spotted Cats, Leopard, Grey Slender Loris, Indian Porcupine and lots of bats.

Sri Lanka, 2012: Steve Davis, 3 weeks & an impressive 50+ species including Fishing and Rusty-spotted Cats, all the squirrels and lots of bats.

Sri Lanka, 2011: Royle Safaris, 10 days & 21 speciesm including Blue and Sperm Whales, Greater Yellow Bats and a Leopard.

Sri Lanka (Sigiriya), 2010: Jon Hall, 72 hours around Sirigiya & over 30 species including a Golden Palm CivetRusty-spotted Cat and a Grey Slender Loris.

Sri Lanka, 2010: Uffe Gjøl Sørensen, 3 weeks & 32 species including Red Slender Loris, Spinner Dolphins and Sloth Bears.

Sri Lanka, 2009: Curtis Hart, 2 weeks and 20 species including five Leopards in Yala.

Sri Lanka, 2008: Steve Morgan and Phil Telfer, 10 days and 34 species including Fishing and Rusty Spotted Cats, Grey Slender Loris and a Golden Palm Civet.

Sri Lanka, 2007: Richard Webb, 10 days and 23 species including Fishing and Rusty Spotted Cats, Slender Loris, Indian Chevrotain and a Travancore Flying Squirrel.

Also See

Northern Sri Lanka RFI, Jan 2018

Dwarf Sperm Whale video from Sri Lanka, November 2016.


Wijeyeratne, G.D.S. 2008. A Photographic Guide To Mammals of Sri Lanka. New Holland. Small and uptodate with comprehensive information and pictures on most of the mammals. Unfortunately it does not cover the majority of the smaller mammals. It also includes sites to see each species but I cannot vouch for how good these are.

Website for identifying the small mammals of Sri Lanka.

1 Comment

  • Jorgeortizgonzalez

    Hi Sri Lankan Mammal Watchers,

    so I read most of you have spotted small cats and bats at different parks. However, each is giving different locations… would you be able to share with me specific places where densities are higher for SMALL FELINES and BATS, so that success on them is somehow guaranteed? I’ll be looking for cobras as well, in case anyone has some extra info on that end.

    Thanks a lot,


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