safari in sri lanka by Earth lanka events

Meet Sri Lanka’s most iconic wildlife species which are awe-inspiring sights for the safari-guests

If you have gone on a Sri Lankan safari, chances are you have heard of the Big 5, the must-see creatures in this beautiful island.

The Big 5 are the dominant and most popular species of Sri Lanka and seeing them in Sri Lanka’s best safari destinations is one of life’s biggest adventures for animal lovers. Known as the Big 5 of Sri Lanka are the Asian Elephants, the Sloth Bear, Leopard, the Blue Whale and the Sperm Whale.

Sri Lankan Leopard

Leopard at Safari in Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan Leopard Safari in Sri Lanka

Easily recognizable by its rusty yellow coat with dark spots, leopard is the most elusive, smallest and also the star attraction of the Big five. Yala and Wilpattu National Parks are the best places to see and photograph Sri Lankan leopards in the wild although they can be usually found in all habitats throughout the country.

Panthera Pardus Kotiya is a subspecies of leopard that is native to Sri Lanka and is unfortunately classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The reason for the decline of leopards in the country is due to hunting and habitat loss.

Both locals and tourists join our safaris with the hope of catching a glimpse of this solitary animal because it is generally difficult to spot leopards. The Sri Lankan leopard is considered as one of the largest of the subspecies of leopard in the world.

The Sri Lankan Elephant (Asian elephant)

Udawalawe and Minneriya National Parks are the most popular wildlife safari locations in Sri Lanka which has the highest density of elephants in Asia, however the human-elephant battle is on the rise due to the conversion of elephant habitat to cultivation or settlements.

The Sri Lankan elephant population is now largely restricted to the dry zone in the north, east and southeast of Sri Lanka.  

During August to October the largest elephant gathering takes place in Minneriya (Kaudulla) National Park where over 300 elephants parade towards the Minneriya water tank. This phenomenal gathering is even listed by Lonely Planet as one of the Top Ten wildlife events in the world.

Sri Lankan elephant
Asian Elephant

The Sloth Bear

Sri Lankan Sloth Bear is found in the forest habitats of the dry zone. With the shaggy, dusty and black coat it is unmistakable to spot a Sloth Bear when you are on a safari. Sloth bear is a solitary creature who grunts and snorts while walking and keeps his nose down so he can detect insects. Their regular diet includes termites and ants which they have to dig out from termite mounds and tree stumps.

Sloth bear in Sri Lanka
Sloth bear in Sri Lanka

In addition to insects, sloth bears love to eat fruits such as Palu (Manilkara hexandra), Madan (Syzygium cumini) and Weera (Drypetes sepiaria). For those who love to see sloth bears, Yala, Wilpattu and Wasgamuwa National Parks are the most popular places to do your safari.

The Sperm Whale and the Blue Whale

Apart from the animals on land, there’s an abundance of magnificent sea-life in Sri Lanka too: Blue Whale is the largest animal that has ever lived on earth. For those who love to watch whales, the Blue whale can be seen in Mirissa and Trincomalee.

There’s an abundance of magnificent sea-life as Sri Lanka is an island nation after all.
Sri Lanka has been a popular destination for experiencing Blue Whales. It is the largest animal that has lived on earth.
As the largest animal on Earth, blue whales are about the length of three school buses, their heart alone is the size of a small car and they weigh on average 200,000 to 300,000 pounds. There are records of individuals growing to over 100 feet long. However, it’s more common to see individuals measuring 80 to 90 feet long. (source:

For those who are keen on watching Sperm Whales, head over to Kalpitiya which is among the top ten sites in the world to observe Sperm Whales. Additionally Mirissa is the ideal location to watch both Sperm and Blue whales on the same sailing.

Destinations you must visit

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With over 15 Years experience running professional safari and trekking tours, Earth Lanka Events (Pvt) Ltd., guarantees your trip to be memorable, exciting & above all a safe Sri Lankan safari experience !!