Environment Sri Lanka > Biodiversity

Mammals of Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) is a sub-species of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), which is lightest and has smaller ears than the African elephant (Loxodonta africana), and also differs from African elephants in that only a small proportions (about one in ten) of male elephants have tusks, so called tuskers.
Elephants can be seen in virtually all the island's national parks - Yala, Uda Walawe and Minneriya are three of the best- and captive elephants can be seen in various places, most famously the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage, near Kandy.
Elephants play an important role in religious festivals across the country, nowhere more so than at the Kandy Esala Perahera where the Tooth Relic is borne through the city by the Maligawa Tusker.

The leopard or panther (Panthera pardus kotiya), the only big cat in Sri Lanka is found both in the dry lowland areas and in the forested hills. Being shy and elusive, it is rarely seen. It is estimated that there are around 500 leopards in the whole island, with some 200 concentrated in Yala National Park. The grayish, largely nocturnalfishing cat (Felis viverrina) with dark spots and dashes with somewhat webbed feet, usually live near water, scooping prey out with their paws- hence the name.

Three species of monkey and one species of Loris can be found in Sri Lanka.
The most widespread is the gray langur (Presbytis entellus) or common (Hanuman) langur, long tailed monkey with a black face, hands and feet.
The toque monkey or red faced macaque (Macaca sinica) is a medium sized reddish-brown animal with a rather baboon-like narrow pink face topped by a distinctive circular tuft of hair.
The third species is the purple-faced leaf monkey (Trachypithecus vetulus), which is endemic to Sri Lanka. This is similar in build to gray langur, with log slender limbs but with a blackish coat and a pair of large striking white side whiskers.


Scientific Name
English Name
ORDER: Insectivora
FAMILY: Soricidae
SUB-FAMILY: Crocidurinae (White-toothed Shrews)
Feroculus feroculus Kelaart's long-tailed shrew
Suncus murinus murinus Common Indian musk-shrew
Suncus murinus caerulescens Indian grey musk-rat 
Suncus murinus kandianus Kandyan shrew
Suncus murinus montanus Ceylon highland shrew 
Suncus zeylanicus Ceylon jungle shrew
Suncus etruscus fellowes-gordoni Ceylon pigmy shrew
Crocidura miya Ceylon long-tailed shrew
Crocidura horsfield horsfield Horsfield's shrew
Solisorex pearsoni Pearson's long-clawed shrew
ORDER: Chiroptera (BATS)
SUB-ORDER: Megachiroptera
FAMILY: Pteropidae (Fruit Bats)
Pteropus giganteus giganteus Common flying fox
Rousettus seminudus Ceylon fruit bat
Cynopterus sphinx sphinx Indian short-nosed fruit bat 
Cynopterus sphinx ceylonensis Ceylon short-nosed fruit bat 
SUB-ORDER: Microchiroptera (Insectivorous & Carnivorous Bats)
FAMILY: Rhinolophidae (Horse-Shoe Bats)
Rhinolophus luctus sobrinus Ceylon Great Horse-Shoe Bat
Rhinolophus rouxi rouxi Rufous Horse-Shoe Bat 
FAMILY: Hipposiderosidae (Leaf-Nosed Bats)
Hipposideros lankadiva lankadiva Great Ceylon Leaf-Nosed Bat
Hipposideros speoris speoris Schneider=s Leaf-Nosed Bat
Hipposideros galeritus brachyotus Dekhan Leaf-Nosed Bat
Hipposideros bicolor ater Ceylon Bi-Coloured Leaf-Nosed Bat
FAMILY: Megadermatidae (False Vampire Bats)
Megaderma spasma ceylonense Ceylon False Vampire Bat
Megaderma lyra lyra Indian False Vampire Bat
FAMILY: Vespertilionidae (Typical Insectivorous Bats)
Pipistrellus mordax Grizzled Pipistrel
Pipistrellus ceylonicus ceylonicus Kelaart's Pipistrel
Pipistrellus coromandra coromandra Indian Pipistrel
Pipistrellus mimus mimus Indian Pigmy Pipistrel
Hesperoptenus tickelli Tickell's Bat
Scotophilus heathi heathi Greater Yellow Bat
Scotophilus temmincki wroughtoni  Lesser Yellow Bat 
Myotis hasselti Van Hasselt's Bat
Sub-Family: Murininae (Tube-Nosed Bats)
Murina cyclotis eileenae Ceylon Tube-Nosed Bat
Sub-Family: Kerivoulinae (Painted Bats) 
Kerivoula picta picta Painted Bat 
Kerivoula hardwickei malpasi Malpas=s Bat 
Sub-Family: Miniopterinae (Long-Winged Bats)
Miniopterus schreiberst fuliginosus Long-Winged Bat
FAMILY: Emballonuridae (Sheath-Tailed Bats)
Taphozous longimanus Long-Armed Sheath-Tailed Bat
Taphozous melanopogon Black-Bearded Sheath-Tailed Bat
Taphozous saccolaimus crassus Pouch-Bearing Sheath-Tailed Bat
FAMILY: Molossidae (Free-Tailed Bats) 
Tadarida aegyptiaca Indian Wrinkled-Lipped Bat
Tadarida plicara insularis Ceylon Wrinkled-Lipped Bat
ORDER: Primates (Apes, Baboons, Monkeys, Lemurs etc.)
Sub-Order: Prosimii (Lemurs, bush-Babies & Lorises)
FAMILY: Lorisidae (Lorises)
Loris tardigradus tardigradus Western Ceylon Slender Loris
Loris tardigradus grandis Highland Ceylon Slender Loris
Loris tardigradus nordicus Northern Ceylon Slender Loris
Loris tardigradus nycticeboides Ceylon Mountain Slender Loris
Sub-Order: Anthropoidea
FAMILY: Cercopithecidae
Sub-family: Colobinae (Langurs or Leaf Monkeys) 
Semnopithecus priam thersites Ceylon Grey Langur
Trachypithecus vetulus vetulus Purple-Faced Leaf Monkey
Trachypithecus vetulus nestor Western Purple-Faced Leaf Monkey
Trachypithecus vetulus monticola  Bear Monkey
Trachypithecus vetulus philbricki Northern Purple-Faces Leaf Monkey
Sub-Family: Cercopithecinae (Macaques)
Macaca sinica sinica Toque Monkey
Macaca sinica aurifrons Western or Dusky Toque Monkey
Macaca sinica pisthomelas Mountain Toque Monkey
ORDER: Pholidota
FAMILY: Manidae (Pangolins)
Manis crassicaidata Indian Pangolin or Scaly Anteater
ORDER: Lagomorpha (Mouse-Hares, Hares and Rabbits)
FAMILY: Leporidae (Hares and Rabbits)
Lepus nigricollis singhala Ceylon Black-Naped Hare
ORDER: Rodentia (Rodents)
Sub-Order: Sciuromorpha (Marmots, Gophers, Squirrels, etc.)
FAMILY: Scuridae (Squirrels)
Petaurista petaurista lanka Large Ceylon Flying-Squirrel 
Petinomys fuscocapillus layardi Small Ceylon Flying Squirrel
Funambulus palmarum brodiei Northern Ceylon Palm squirrel
Funambulus palmarum kelaarti Eastern Ceylon Palm Squirrel
Funambulus palmarum olympius Highland Ceylon Palm Squirrel
Funambulus palmarum favonicus Western Ceylon Palm Squirrel
Funambulus layardi layardi Flame-Stripped jungle Squirrel
Funambulus layardi signatus Western Flame-Stripped Jungle Squirrel
Funambulus sublineatus obscurus Ceylon Dusky-Stripped jungle Squirrel
Ratufa macroura macroura Highland Ceylon Giant Squirrel
Ratufa macroura melanochra Western Ceylon Giant Squirrel
Ratufa macroura dandolena Common Ceylon Gian Squirrel
Sub-Order: Hystricomorpha (Porcupines) 
FAMILY: Hystericidae (Porcupines)
Hystrix indica Indian Porcupine
Sub-Order: Myomorpha
FAMILY: Muridae (Rats, Mice and rat-like rodents)
Sub-family: Gerbillinae (Gerbils)
Tatera indica ceylonica Ceylon Gerbil or Antilope-Rat
Sub-family: Murinae (Rats and Mice)
Bandicota indica Indian Bandicoot or Bandicoot-Rat
Bandicota bengalensis gracilis Ceylon Mole Ray or Lesser Bandicoot
Bandicota bengalensis insularis Northern Ceylon Mole Rat
Mus musculus castaneus Indian House Mouse
Mus cervicolor fulvidiventris Ceylon Field Mouse
Mus fernandoni Ceylon Spiny Mouse
Mus (Coelomys) mayori mayori Ceylon Spiny-Rat or Coelomys
Mus (Coelomys) mayori pococki Bi-Coloured Spiny-Rat or Coelomys
Rattus rattus rattus Common House-Rat or Black Rat
Rattus rattus alexandricus Egyptian House-Rat
Rattus rattus rufescens Indian House-Rat
Rattus rattus kandianus Common Ceylon House-Rat
Rattus rattus kelaarti Ceylon Highland Rat
Rattus norvegicus European Brown Rat
Rattus blanfordi White-Tailed Rat
Rattus ohiensis Ceylon Bi-Coloured Rat
Rattus montanus Nillu Rat
Golunda ellioti ellioti Indian Bush-Rat
Golunda ellioti newara Ceylon Highland Bush-Rat or Coffee-Rat
Milardia meltada meltada Indian Soft-Furred Rat
Vandeleuria oleracea nilagirica Indian Long-Tailed Tree Mouse
Vendeleuria oleracea nolthenii Ceylon Highland Long-Tailed Tree Mouse
ORDER: Cetacea (Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises)
Sub-Order: Mysticeti (Whale-Bone Whales)
FAMILY: Balaenopteridae (Rorquals and Hump-Nosed Whales) 
Balaenoptera acutorostrata Little Picked Whale, Minke Whale or Lesser Rorqual
Balaenoptera physalus Common Rorqual or Fin Whale
Balaenoptera musculus Great Blue Whale
Megaptera novceanglias Hump-Backed Whale
FAMILY: Eschrichtiidae (Grey Whales)
Eschrichtius gibbosus California Grey Whale
Sub-Order: Odontoceti (Toothed Whales and Dolphins)
FAMILY: Physeteridae (Sperm Whales)
Kogia breviceps Pigmy Sperm Whale
Physeter catodor Sperm Whale or Cachalot
FAMILY: Ziphiidae (Beaked Whales)
Ziphius cavirostris Goose-Beaked or Cuvier=s Beaked Whale
Mesoplodon ginkgodens Ginkgo-Tooth Beaked Whale
Hyperoodon planifrons Bottle-Nosed Whale
FAMILY: Phocoenidae (Porpoises)
Neophocoena phocaenoides Little indian Porpoise
FAMILY: Delphinidae (Dolphins and Killer Whales)
Delphinus delphis Common Dolphin
Stenella longirostris Long-Beaked Dolphin
Sotalica lentiginosa Speckled Dolphin
Sotalia plumbea Plumbeous Dolphin
Tursiops truncatus Bottle-Nosed Dolphin
Pseudorca crassidens False Killer Whales
Orcinus orca Killer Whale or Grampus
ORDER: Carnivora (Carnivores)
FAMILY: Mustelidae (Weasels, Otters, etc.)
Lutra lutra (ceylonica) nair Ceylon Otter
FAMILY: Canidae (Wolves, Jackals, Foxes, etc.)
Canis aureus lanka Ceylon Jackal
FAMILY: Ursidae (Bears)
Melursus ursinus inornatus Ceylon Sloth Bear
FAMILY: Viverridae (Civets, Palm-cats, Mongooses, etc.)
Sub-Family: Viverrinae (Civets)
Viverricula indica mayori Ceylon Small Civet-Cat
Sub-Family: Paradoxurinae (Palm-Cats or Palm Civets)
Paradoxurus hermaphroditus Common Indian Palm-Cat
Paradoxurus zeylonensis Golden Palm-Civet
Sub-Family: Herpestinae (Mongooses)
Herpestes edwardsi lanka Common Ceylon Grey Mongoose
Herpestes fuscus flavidents Highland Ceylon Brown Mongoose
Herpestes fuscus rubidior Western Ceylon Brown Mongoose
Herpestes fuscus maccarthiae Northern Ceylon Brown Mongoose
Herpestes smithi zeylanicus Ceylon Ruddy Mongoose
Herpestes vitticollis Striped-Necked Mongoose
FAMILY: Felidae (Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Cats, etc.)
Felis (Proinailurus) rubiginosa phillipsi Ceylon Rusty-Spotted Cat
Felis (Zibethailurus) viverrina Indian Fishing Cat
Felis chaus kelaarti Ceylon Jungle Cat
Panthera pardus lankae Ceylon Leopard
ORDER: Proboscidea (Elphants and their allies)
FAMILY: Elephantidae (Elephants)
Elephas maximus maximus Ceylon Elephant
Elephas maximus vil-aliya Ceylon Marsh Elephant
ORDER: Sirenia (Dugongs, Sea-Cows)
FAMILY: Dugongidae (Dugongs) 
Dugong dugong Common Dugong
ORDER: Perissodactyla (Odd-Toed Ungulates)
FAMILY: Equidae (Horses and Donkeys)
Eques eques Mannar Pony
Eques caballos Mannar Pigmy Donkey
ORDER: Artiodactyla (Even-Toed Ungulates)
Sub-Order: Suiformes (Pigs and Pig-Like Mammals)
FAMILY: Suidae (Pigs)
Sus scrofa cristatus Indian Wild Pig
Sub-Order: Ruminantia (Ruminants)
FAMILY: Tragulidae (Cheverotains or Mouse Deer)
Tragulus meminna Indian Mouse Deer or Chevrotain 
FAMILY: Cervidae (Deer)
Muntiacus muntjak malabaricus Indian Muntjak ot Barking Deer
Axis (axis) axis ceylonensis Ceylon Spotted Deer
Cervus unicolor unicolor Sambhur
FAMILY: Bovidae (Wild Cattle and Buffalos)
Bubalus bubalis bubalis Indian Water Buffalo

Checklist of mammals by R M A P Rajathewa,
B.Sc. Forestry and Environmental Science Special course

Biodiversity | Ecotourism | Environmental Issues | Forestry at University of Sri Jayewardenepura
Discussions | Education | News | About Us

Web site Maintained by
Forestry and Environmental Science Society of Univesity of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka and
Young Biolgists' Association, National Meuseum of the Naural History, Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka.
email: webmaster@environmentlanka.com
© Forestry and Environment Society 1998-2003