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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Animals in Yala National Park – A jungle paradise
Joanna James Joanna James
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Animals in Yala National Park – A jungle paradise

The Yala national park is one of the most visited wildlife parks in Sri Lanka which boasts a wide variety of animals. Here's a list of animals you'll be able to spot when visiting Yala.


Sri Lanka Junglefowl

The "Gallus lafayettii" or Sri Lankan Junglefowl, is Sri Lanka's national bird. This bird species which is native to Sri Lanka, and belongs to the Galliformes bird family from which the chicken was domesticated.


Indian Peafowl

The "Pavo cristatus" or Indian peafowl, which is also called the blue peafowl is a multicoloured bird that was endemic to the South Asian region until it was introduced to countries like Mexico, Guyana, Colombia and Australia.


Spot-billed pelican

The "Pelecanus philippensis" or Spot-billed pelican, is a bird that belongs to the pelican family. Although they look like any other pelican from a distance, upon getting closer, they can be differentiated by the spots that appear on their mandible and absence of flashing colours.


Toque Macaque

The "Macaca sinica" or Toque Macaque, is commonly known as "Rilawa" by the locals. It is a brownish-red monkey that is endemic to Sri Lanka. Street entertainers in many parts of Sri Lanka train these monkeys to do perform tricks and stunts for the delight of onlookers and earn their living.


Sri Lankan Sloth Bear

The "Melursus ursinus inornatus" or Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, which can normally be found in dry forest areas in Sri Lanka falls under the sloth bear family. While the Sri Lankan sloth bear is omnivorous it rarely hurts or kills other animals.


Sri Lankan Leopard

The "Panthera pardus kotiya" or Sri Lankan Leopard, which is referred to by the locals as "Kotiya", is one of the main reason tourist flock to the Yala National Park. Many hotels and resorts that provide accommodation in Kataragama and Yala such as the Mandara Rosen Kataragama arrange Leopard watching expeditions that let visitors get as close as possible to these majestic beasts.


Wild Water Buffalo

The "Bubalus arnee" or Wild Water Buffalo, which is also known as the Asian buffalo is an endangered species that is native to South East Asian region; specifically, the Indian subcontinent. The wild water buffalo has an uncanny resemblance to the domestic water buffalo, which is very likely to be its ancestor.


Mugger Crocodile

The "Crocodylus palustris" or Mugger Crocodile, which is also known as the marsh crocodile or mugger can be found in Pakistan, India and other countries of the Indian subcontinent. While they are medium in size they prefer to live in freshwater ponds, swamps, fresh lakes and marshes.


Loggerhead Sea Turtle

The "Caretta caretta" or Loggerhead Sea Turtle is a sea turtle that can be seen in many regions across the globe. Loggerheads spend most of their lives in seawater feeding on invertebrate sea life that can be found at the bottom of the ocean floor. They are listed as endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature(IUCN) due to their low fertility rates and falling victim to neglected fishing equipment.


Sri Lankan Elephant

The "Elephas maximus Maximus" or Sri Lankan Elephant is a type of Asian elephant that is endemic to Sri Lanka. Similar to the Loggerheads, the Sri Lankan elephants are also listed as endangered species by the IUCN since 1986.