Sri Lanka: Fishing cat and Rusty Spotted cat trip:  13‐17 April, 2018 

My overall aim was to try for these two cats with the additional bonus of multiple bats and there species that have been regularly seen and reported in other trip reports. In 4 nights we saw all 4 cat species found in Sri Lanka (Fishing,Jungle,Rusty Spotted and Leopard) and recorded 41 mammal species.

Fishing cat was seen on the first night in Sigiriya with two different animals in distinctly different locations.One fled almost immediately and the other crossed the road twice which allowed me to take a very shaky video for a few brief seconds.The third sighting was on a night drive outside Wilpattu National Park, a large adult walking across a marsh area. The Rusty Spotted cats appeared on the last night in Sigiriya, a large adult walking away from the road into scrub and a juvenile sitting on the road. Both moved away quickly but allowed for clear views. The jungle cat was seen once in Sigiriya and once in Wilpattu on night drives. The leopard was seen on the last afternoon drive in Wilpattu.

The trip of course is built around the local knowledge of the best sites provided by the Bird and Wildlife Team and the expert spotting and identification skills of my guide (Diluksha). So it is possible, within a very short period of time to see these elusive cats. The key was becoming nocturnal with night drives starting at 10 or 11 pm and ending at 5am. Sleeping through to lunchtime and then going out in the late afternoon to a number of bat roosts which ensure that the spotting tally keeps going up. The accommodation at Sigiriya was very good but a bit commercialized for my liking and always felt I had to change out of my camo gear before eating in the massive dining hall. The tented camp at Wilpattu was perfect (only 4 safari type tents) and right on the edge of the park, so wildlife is your only neighbour.

13 April     Late afternoon pick‐up from Colombo arriving at Sigiriya. Night drive from 11 pm to 5am.
14 April     Slept during the morning, afternoon looking for bats and night drive 11pm to 5am in Sigiriya.
15 April      Afternoon walk and drive and then night drive from 10 pm to 4 am in Sigiriya.
16 April      Early afternoon departure to Wilpattu National park, afternoon and night drive until 1am.
17 April      Late morning and afternoon drive in Wilpattu. Depart to airport.


1  Indian Hare
Lepus nigricollis
Several animals seen on each night drive in Sigiriya
2  Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel
Ratufa macroura
Seen in hotel grounds in Sigiriya and Wilpattu
3  Indian Palm Squirrel
Funambulus palmarum
Seen in hotel grounds in Sigiriya and Wilpattu
4  Little Indian Field Mouse
Mus booduga
Seen in Wilpattu
5  Asiatic Long‐tailed Climbing Mouse
Vandeleuria oleracea
One or two seen each evening while spotlighting  around Sigiriya
6  Brown Rat
Rattus norvegicus
One seen crossing the road in Sigiriya
7  Indian Gerbil
Tatera indica
Several animals crossing the road in Sigiriya
8  Indian Crested Porcupine
Hystrix indica
Very brief sighting by the side of the road whilst  spotlighting in Sigiriya
9  Small Indian Civet
Viverricula indica
Seen several times while spotlighting around  Sigiriya
10  Asian Palm Civet
Paradoxurus hermaphroditus
One recorded on night drives around Sigiriya
11  Sri Lankan Brown Palm Civet
Paradoxurus montanus
Good views on the first night in Sigiriya
12  Jungle Cat
Felis chaus 
Seen one night in Sigiriya and outside Wilpattu on a  night drive
13  Rusty‐spotted Cat
Felis rubiginosa
Two different animals (adult and juvenile). Very  quick views of a large adult moving into scrub from  5 meters away and a juvenile sitting in the middle  of the road before running into the roadside vegetation (10 m)
14  Fishing Cat
Felis viverrina 
First  night  two  different  animals.  Brief  but  clear  views of one large adult sitting at 10 meters but  ran  as  I  reached  for  my  camera  and  another  crossing  the  road S at a  range  of  5 meters. Also  seen on the final night in a field outside Wilpattu
15  Leopard
Panthera pardus
After several attempts a beautiful animal seen in  the late afternoon which seems to be the best time  in Wilpattu National Park
16  Indian Grey Mongoose
Herpestes edwardsii
One crossed the road on the way out of Sigiriya
17  Ruddy Mongoose
Herpestes smithii
Small family group seen in Wilapattu
18  Golden Jackal
Canis aureus
A pair seen a couple of consecutive nights while  Spotlighting in Sigiriya
19  Greater Short‐nosed Fruit Bat
Cynopterus sphinx
One seen on night drive around Sigiriya
20  Long‐winged Tomb Bat
Taphozous longimanus
Three animals seen roosting in rocky crevice at  Buddhist temple near Sigiriya
21  Lesser False Vampire Bat
Magaderma spasma
A few seen in abandoned buildings in Sigiriya
22  Indian Woolly Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus beddomei
Found roosting in several abandoned buildings and  Caves around Sigiriya.
23  Rufous Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus rouxii
Found roosting in several buildings around Sigirya
24  Dusky Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros ater 
Several seen around Sigiriya
25  Fulvous Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros fulvus
Several seen around Sigiriya
26  Dekhan Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros galeritus
Found roosting in several abandoned buildings  Around Sigiriya
27  Schneider’s Roundleaf Bat
Hipposideros speoris 
Found roosting in several abandoned buildings  Around Sigiriya
28  Indian Pipistrelle
Pipistrellus coromandra 
Common in Sigiriya
29  Least Pipistrelle
Pipistrellus tenuis
Several seen in Sigiriya
30  Brown (Hasselt’s) Myotis
Myotis hasseltii 
Commonly seen hunting over water in Sigiriya
31  Sloth bear
Melursus ursinus 
One feeding in a tree in Wilapattu during the  afternoon
32  Grey Slender Loris
Loris lydekkerianus
One spotted at the arboretum in Sigiriya and on the  Night drive outside Wilpattu
33  Toque Macaque
Macaca sinica 
Common in Sigiriya
34  Tufted Grey Langur
Semnopithecus priam   
Common in Sigiriya and Wilpattu
35  Asian elephant
Elephas maximus   
One individual seen in Wilpattu
36  Sambar deer
  Cervus unicolor
Seen in Wilpattu
37  Red Muntjak
Muntiacus muntjak 
Seen in Wilpattu
38  Eurasian Wild Boar
Sus scrofa
Seen in Wilpattu
39  Sri Lankan White‐striped Chevrotain
Moschiola meminna 
Seen at the arboretum and on the roads around  Sigiriya
40  Chital  Axis
Several herds seen in Sigiriya and Wilpattu
41  Wild water buffalo
Bulbalus arnee 
Seen in Wilpattu