Environment

What Animals Live In Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is home to 123 species of mammals including leopards, elephants, sloth bears, and more.

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Sri Lanka is an island country in the Indian Ocean. Despite its small size, Sri Lanka is host to a great diversity of flora and fauna. About 123 mammalian species live in the country including many threatened ones. One species is critically endangered, ten each are endangered and vulnerable, and three species are near threatened. Sri Lanka also has high levels of endemism. 23% of all flowering plants and 16% of the fauna found in this country occur nowhere else in the world. Some of the most iconic mammalian fauna of Sri Lanka have been mentioned below.

Sri Lankan Elephant

#8 Sri Lankan Elephant

Elephas maximus maximus is one of three subspecies of the Asian elephant. It is native to Sri Lanka. These elephants are the largest subspecies of the Asian elephant. They reach a shoulder height of between 2 and 3.5 m. They also have a darker skin color. These elephants have a restricted habitat confined to the dry zone in Sri Lanka’s north, east, and southeast. Human-animal conflicts and habitat destruction threaten the survival of the Sri Lankan elephant. 50% of the population of these animals have been lost over the last three generations. Thus, IUCN has listed the species as endangered.

Toque Macaque

#7 Toque Macaque

The Macaca sinica is a primate endemic to Sri Lanka. It is a reddish-brown-colored Old World monkey with a highly structured society. They live in groups of 8 to 40 members. These monkeys have a broad diet consisting of flowers, fruits, grains, etc. They also easily adapt to living near humans and have very little fear of them. Wild cats and Indian rock python are the primary predators of these monkeys. Since the torque macaque has a highly restricted habitat limited to the island of Sri Lanka and is threatened by habitat destruction, hunting, and capture for the pet trade, IUCN has listed the species as endangered. Due to the habit of these monkeys to invade croplands, farmers often resort to killing them to protect their crops. Thus, human-monkey conflict needs to be addressed to protect the species.

Sri Lankan Brown Palm Civet

The Paradoxurus montanus is a species of viverrid endemic to Sri Lanka. It has a dark wood-brown coat that is slightly grayish-toned. The underside is paler. The eyes are large and have vertical pupils. The ears are round and prominent. What distinguishes this species from other civets is the pleasant smell released by its anal glands. Most other civets are known to produce unpleasant odors. The brown palm civets odor has been compared to the fragrance of Michelia champaca.

Sri Lankan Leopard

Panthera pardus kotiya is a leopard subspecies found only in Sri Lanka. This leopard has a tawny to rusty yellow-colored coat with rosettes that are smaller than that of the Indian leopards. Since the Sri Lankan leopard faces no competition in its habitat and is the apex predator therein, it grows quite large. Males of this subspecies often weight as much as 100 kg. These felids occupy a wide variety of habitats ranging from grasslands and forest patches to tea estates and plantations. They are solitary hunters and usually nocturnal. They prey on small mammals, reptiles, and birds. The Sri Lankan leopard is threatened with habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and persecution. IUCN has enlisted the species as endangered.

Purple-faced Langur

#4 Purple-faced Langur

The Semnopithecus vetulus is an Old World monkey found only in Sri Lanka. It is an arboreal species with a brown coat, dark face, and long tail. It occurs in the canopy forests in Sri Lankan mountains and also in the wet zone in the southwestern part of the country. The purple-faced langurs have a largely folivorous diet consisting of fruits, seeds, and flowers. Sadly, these animals are subjected to numerous challenges in their habitat. Their range is continuously decreasing due to deforestation and urbanization. Much of the natural forests where they thrived have now been destroyed. The langurs have no been forced to live closer to humans and are often subjected to persecution due to human-animal conflict.

Sri Lankan Sloth Bear

#3 Sri Lankan Sloth Bear

Melursus ursinus inornatus is a sloth bear subspecies found in Sri Lanka. It lives in the lowland dry forests of the country. It is an omnivorous mammal that feeds on roots, berries, nuts, meat, and carrion. It also consumes insects. Unfortunately, the Sri Lankan sloth bear is on the verge of extinction. Only about 500 individuals of this species remain in the wild in small, isolated populations. It is highly dependent on natural forests for food and the destruction of the same has led to its dramatic population decline.

Red Slender Loris

The Loris tardigradus is a small, nocturnal primate found in the Sri Lankan rainforests. It is endemic to the country. It has forward-facing eyes and long slender limbs. The tail is absent in the species. It has a well-developed index finger and larger prominent ears. The fur is reddish-brown color on the dorsal surface white the underside is whitish-grey. These animals sleep during the daytime and are active at night. They hunt for insects, small reptiles, and bird eggs but also feed on plant parts. The red slender loris is an endangered species suffering from habitat destruction, and trapping and killing by humans. Road accidents, electrocution on live wires and capture for the pet trade also claims many individuals from the wild. Thus, is has been labeled as an endangered species by the IUCN.

Grizzled Giant Squirrel

#1 Grizzled Giant Squirrel

The Ratufa macroura is a tree squirrel found in the Sri Lankan highlands and some parts of southern India. It is the smallest of the giant squirrels found in the Indian subcontinent. It can range in size from 50 to 90 cm from head to the tip of the tail. These squirrels feed on fruits, nuts, bird eggs, and insects. It has been enlisted as a Near Threatened species due to hunting and habitat loss.

What Animals Live In Sri Lanka?

RankNameBinomialStatus
1Asian elephant Elephas maximusEndangered
2Dugong Dugong dugongVulnerable
3Gray slender loris Loris lydekkerianusLeast concern
4Red slender loris Loris tardigradusEndangered
5Toque macaque Macaca sinicaEndangered
6Tufted gray langur Semnopithecus priamNear threatened
7Purple-faced langurTrachypithecus vetulusEndangered
8Indian porcupineHystrix indicaLeast concern
9Grizzled giant squirrel Ratufa macrouraNear threatened
10Indian giant flying squirrel Petaurista philippensisLeast concern
11Travancore flying squirrelPetinomys fuscocapillusNear threatened
12Indian palm squirrel Funambulus palmarumLeast concern
13Layard's palm squirrelFunambulus layardiVulnerable
14Dusky palm squirrelFunambulus obscurusVulnerable
15Indian gerbil Tatera indicaLeast concern
16Lesser bandicoot rat Bandicota bengalensisLeast concern
17Greater bandicoot rat Bandicota indicaLeast concern
18Blanford's rat Madromys blanfordiLeast concern
19Indian bush ratGolunda elliotiLeast concern
20Soft-furred ratMillardia meltadaLeast concern
21Little Indian field mouseMus boodugaLeast concern
22Ceylon spiny mouseMus fernandoniEndangered
23Mayor's mouseMus mayoriVulnerable
24House mouseMus musculusLeast concern
25Nillu ratRattus montanusEndangered
26Brown ratRattus norvegicusLeast concern
27Ohiya ratSrilankamys ohiensisVulnerable
28Asiatic long-tailed climbing mouseVandeleuria oleraceaLeast concern
29Indian hareLepus nigricollisLeast concern
30Horsefield's shrewCrocidura horsfieldiiData deficient
31Sri Lankan long-tailed shrewCrocidura miyaEndangered
32Sinharaja shrewCrocidura hikmiyaEndangered
33Kelaart's long-clawed shrewFeroculus feroculusEndangered
34Pearson's long-clawed shrewSolisorex pearsoniEndangered
35Etruscan shrew Suncus etruscusLeast concern
36Sri Lanka shrewSuncus fellowesgordoniEndangered
37Sri Lanka highland shrewSuncus montanusVulnerable
38Asian house shrew Suncus murinusLeast concern
39Jungle shrewSuncus zeylanicusEndangered
40Lesser short-nosed fruit batCynopterus brachyotisLeast concern
41Greater short-nosed fruit batCynopterus sphinxLeast concern
42Indian flying fox Pteropus giganteusLeast concern
43Leschenault's rousetteRousettus leschenaultiLeast concern
44Hardwicke's woolly batKerivoula hardwickiiLeast concern
45Painted batKerivoula pictaLeast concern
46Lesser large-footed batMyotis hasseltiiLeast concern
47Chocolate pipistrelle Falsistrellus affinisLeast concern
48Tickell's bat Hesperoptenus tickelliLeast concern
49Kelaart's pipistrelle Pipistrellus ceylonicusLeast concern
50Indian pipistrelle Pipistrellus coromandraLeast concern
51Greater Asiatic yellow bat Scotophilus heathiLeast concern
52Lesser Asiatic yellow bat Scotophilus kuhliiLeast concern
53Round-eared tube-nosed bat Murina cyclotisLeast concern
54Eastern bent-wing batMiniopterus fuliginosusLeast concern
55Wrinkle-lipped free-tailed bat Chaerephon plicataLeast concern
56Egyptian free-tailed batTadarida aegyptiacaLeast concern
57Naked-rumped pouched bat Saccolaimus saccolaimusLeast concern
58Long-winged tomb batTaphozous longimanusLeast concern
59Black-bearded tomb bat Taphozous longimanusLeast concern
60Greater false vampire batMegaderma lyraLeast concern
61Lesser false vampire bat Megaderma spasmaLeast concern
62Lesser woolly horseshoe bat Rhinolophus beddomeiLeast concern
63Woolly horseshoe bat Rhinolophus luctusLeast concern
64Rufous horseshoe bat Rhinolophus rouxiLeast concern
65Dusky leaf-nosed batHipposideros aterLeast concern
66Fulvus roundleaf bat Hipposideros fulvusLeast concern
67Cantor's roundleaf bat Hipposideros galeritusLeast concern
68Indian roundleaf bat Hipposideros lankadivaLeast concern
69Schneider's leaf-nosed batHipposideros speorisLeast concern
70Indian pangolinManis crassicaudataEndangered
71Minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrataLeast concern
72Bryde's whale Balaenoptera edeniData deficient
73Blue whale Balaenoptera musculusEndangered
74Fin whale Balaenoptera physalusEndangered
75Humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliaeEndangered
76Finless porpoiseNeophocaena phocaenoidesVulnerable
77Sperm whale Physeter macrocephalusVulnerable
78Pygmy sperm whale Kogia brevicepsData deficient
79Dwarf sperm whale Kogia simaData deficient
80Cuvier's beaked whaleZiphius cavirostrisLeast concern
81Blainville's beaked whale Mesoplodon densirostrisData deficient
82Ginkgo-toothed beaked whale Mesoplodon ginkgodensData deficient
83Deraniyagala's beaked whale Mesoplodon hotaula-
84Rough-toothed dolphin Steno bredanensisData deficient
85Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin Sousa chinensisNear threatened
86Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin Tursiops aduncusData deficient
87Bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatusLeast concern
88Pantropical spotted dolphin Stenella attenuataLeast concern
89Striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalbaLeast concern
90Spinner dolphin Stenella longirostrisData deficient
91Fraser's dolphin Lagenodelphis hoseiLeast concern
92Risso's dolphin Grampus griseusLeast concern
93Melon-headed whale Peponocephala electraLeast concern
94Pygmy killer whaleFeresa attenuataData deficient
95False killer whale Pseudorca crassidensData deficient
96Killer whaleOrcinus orcaData deficient
97Short-finned pilot whale Globicephala macrorhynchusData deficient
98Domestic cat Felis sylvestrisDomesticated
99Jungle catFelis chausLeast concern
100Rusty-spotted cat Prionailurus rubiginosusNear threatened
101Fishing cat Prionailurus viverrinusVulnerable
102LeopardPanthera pardusEndangered
103Asian palm civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditusLeast concern
104Golden wet zone palm civetParadoxurus aureus
105Sri Lanka golden striped-backed palm civet Paradoxurus stenocephalus
106Sri Lanka brown palm civet Paradoxurus montanus
107Small Indian civet Viverricula indicaLeast concern
108Indian gray mongoose Herpestes edwardsiiLeast concern
109Indian brown mongooseHerpestes fuscusLeast concern
110Ruddy mongooseHerpestes smithiiLeast concern
111Stripe-necked mongoose Herpestes vitticollisLeast concern
112Golden jackal Canis aureusLeast concern
113Domestic dog Canis lupusDomesticated
114Sloth bear Melursus ursinusVulnerable
115European otterLutra lutraNear threatened
116Boar Sus scrofaLeast concern
117Domestic pigSus scrofaDomesticated
118Sri Lankan spotted chevrotain Moschiola meminnaLeast concern
119Sri Lankan yellow-striped chevrotain Moschiola kathygreLeast concern
120Sambar deer Rusa unicolorVulnerable
121Indian hog deerHyelaphus porcinusEndangered
122ChitalAxis axisLeast concern
123Indian muntjacMuntiacus muntjakLeast concern
124Wild Asian water buffaloBubalus arneeEndangered
125Water buffaloBubalus bubalisDomesticated
126ZebuBos taurusDomesticated
127Goat එළුවා Capra aegagrusDomesticated
128Delft pony Equus ferusDomesticated
129Donkey Equus africanusDomesticated

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