For an Asian country, seeing mammals in Sri Lanka is surprisingly easy and interesting. According to a wildlife photographer, in India one would need to be in the core zone of Corbett National Park to see anything close the number of species you can encounter in Sri Lanka on a good game drive in a national park.
There are three species of monkeys found in Sri Lanka some of whom can be spotted in our properties in Sigiriya.
The Toque Monkey
Most commonly found around human habitation. Toque monkeys are found in large number in the Cultural Triangle sites. They are greyish- brown omnivorous mammals and enjoying stealing bananas from the flocking tourists at heritage sites.
The Grey Langur
Also known as the Hanuman Langur, these monkeys are found in significant number around the archaeological sites in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigirya.
Purple-faced Leaf Monkey
In contrast to the other two types of monkeys, the Purple-Faced Leaf Monkey is a shy monkey that never seems to be quite at ease with people. It is most easily seen at the Talangama Wetland or around the Bolgoda Lake.
The largest terrestrial mammal of Asia, the elephant, is a local familiarity in Sri Lanka. Nowhere else can you be guaranteed to see a wild Asian elephant in a single game drive. If you haven’t already had the fortune of seeing a wild elephant along the highways, then forests are where you should be headed for.
The Asian elephant has much smaller ears that the African elephant and therefore a lower tolerance to heat. As a result, the Asian elephants are sighted most often toward the cool of evening rather than in the scorching sun of noon.
Amongst the many National Parks to see Asian Elephants in their natural habitat, is the Minneriya National Park. The elephant gatherings here are not to be missed. And just a short drive away is a comfortable hotel to check in to if you are travelling on a budget.
Sri Lanka is one of the best places in Asia to see Leopards. The Sri Lankan Leopard prides itself on being the top-predator in the wild and therefore, unlike in India or Africa, it can be seen very relaxed in the open during the day. Leopards are very adaptable creatures. Throughout the island they can be seen in the dry lowland forests, the wet lowlands and sometimes even in the cloud forests of the highlands.
The Yala National Park is by far one of the best Leopard siting locations. And if you are staying at a Yoho Bed Villa close to Yala National Park, you can spend days in a row marvelling these beautiful cats.
Among the many mysteries of Sri Lanka, is the origin of the Water Buffalo. It is said to have originated from imported domestic animals that have gone wild over the years. It is most commonly found in scrub forest grasslands and waterholes in the dry lowlands. The water buffalo, it its most ‘wild’ form can be seen easily at the waterholes most national parks – Yala, Wasgamuwa and Uda Walawe.
Have you had experiences with these mammals? Do share your stories in the comments!