Sri Lanka is a home and sanctuary for hundreds of species of animals as wide and diverse as the habitats they live in. Sri Lanka also has the world's oldest recorded wildlife preserve and today, more than 8% of the land is preserved as national parks or nature preserves.
Sri Lanka has over 90 species of mammals, including wild boars
, flying foxes/fruit bats, jackals, mongooses, and water buffalo
. Several species are presently threatened or critically endangered like the Sloth Bear
, the Sri Lankan Leopard, the Sri Lankan Elephant, the Dugong
, and the Sambar
deer. Some indigenous mammals include the Purple-faced Langur, the Toque Macaque
, the Golden Palm Civet
, and the Layard's Palm Squirrel. There are also about 25 species of whales and dolphins that inhabit the coastal waters.
Sri Lanka possesses a very rich avian wildlife, with the species count exceeding 430. Most endemic birds are restricted to the wet zone: an area with two monsoons, few rainforests, and high humidity. It is home to native birds like the Ceylon Whistling-thrush, the Yellow-eared Bulbul, and the brown-capped Babbler. The dry zone has a prolonged hot and dry period with only one monsoon; reservoirs draw in various ducks while larger aquatic birds, such as storks, herons, and flamingoes, can easily be seen in National Parks.
Sri Lanka has over 170 species of reptiles, most of which are snakes; the cobra is probably the most well known of their 90-something species. The largest reptiles are the Mugger Crocodile and Saltwater Crocodile. There are several types of lizards, two species of aquatic turtles, and one species of tortoise. More reptiles unique to Sri Lanka include the Pygmy Lizard, the Blossom Krait, the Sri Lankan Pit Viper, and the Sri Lankan's Land Monitor Lizard.
The inland waters of Sri Lanka and other marine ecosystems, like coral reefs, house over 1000 species of fish; about 24 of these species are only found in Sri Lanka. Of the 50-plus species of amphibians found in Sri Lanka, at least half are solely found here like the Paddy Field Frog, Gray-brown Pug-snouted Frog, and the Spurred Tree Frog.