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Between fauna and flora: In the heart of Sri Lanka's nature

Written on : 10 August 2018
By : Jeanne Ulhaq

True heaven on Earth, Sri Lanka has an exceptional fauna and flora. Elephants, birds, monkeys or turtles… It is not rare to come across these species close to the sea or in the middle of the street. If there are loads of tourist activities related to the observation of nature, don’t fall for it: most of these parks and centers are accused of not respecting animals. But it does not mean you cannot go observe them! Villanovo tells you everything about discovering these exotic species while still travelling in the respect of Sri Lanka’s natural environment.

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A luxurious flora

Varying from an area to another, the flora of Sri Lanka is rich and of breathtaking beauty. In the center of the island, you will mostly find large plantations of banana and pineapple trees, close to jasmine flowers or African tulips, which are the main flowers there. In the heart of forests, Mahogany and Ebony wood will let you amazed. Very appreciated by artists, you will find the same trees in the South West of the island, damper with magnificent orchids, medicinal plants and tea fields. However, if you decided to go discover the coasts, your breath will be taken by the coconut trees that run over the thousands of hectares in these incredible green landscapes. At last, know that paddy fields are part of one the main wealth of Sri Lanka, representing around 16% of its cultivated lands. If contemplating the luxurious vegetation of the natural spaces is part of what you like to do while travelling, you won’t be disappointed!



In Sri Lanka, to suddenly meet an elephant in the middle of the street is usual. Indeed, the country has the highest density of elephants in Asia, with around 6000 of them on the full territory. Smaller than their African cousins, they remain very impressive when one is not used to them. If it is not advised to get too close, as it is a wild animal, the elephant has a special importance in Sri Lanka’s culture. While it used to be a terrible offense to kill one a few years ago, the specie has been a victim of its sacred nature and slowly reduced over time. Thus, parks offering rides on elephants’ backs, which get the animals tired, are to banish for the benefit of natural observation like you can do in Uda Walave. Indeed, this national park is very popular among tourists. Respecting animals, it offers to travelers to be close to elephants in their natural habitat. Moreover, it gives the opportunity to watch birds as well. With more than 400 species, the country is a paradise for birds lovers. Take the time to contemplate the surrounding wilderness in this park appreciated by both tourists and locals.


Another animal very present on the territory, the monkey is king in Sri Lanka ! Sacred in the indouist regions, il est very likely that you will come across them close to temples, ruins, on the road or even inside the jungle for the most adventurers. If the Ceylon “entelle” is a clever but wild specie, the grey langur and the toque macaque are plentiful but less aggressive. You will see them together, seeking for flowers or fruits to eat. Although harmless, pay attention when you have food in your hands! If there is no risks if you eat on a restaurant’s terrace, be careful during your picnic.

The reptiles

The reptiles

Probably the most exotic animal species you will get to see, reptiles are plentiful and commons in Sri Lanka. From the cutest to the scariest, here are some of animals you might see during your trip on these lands of surprising wealth.

The turtles

True business in “farms” of turtles which allow public to touch the newborn despite what its consequences for the specie, choose to walk close to the beach in the south of the country to see them in a natural space. Diving or on earth, you will get to admire different types of turtles. Be aware and look around you, there are many of them and they are -indeed- easy to get close to !
The water monitor

The water monitor

Huge lizard emblematic of the country, don’t be scared! Although it is the second largest lizard by size, the one that locals call the dragon of lagoons is harmless for people. Of dark coloured and usually covered with yellow stains, the water monitor is a semi-aquatic animal that you will have the chance to meet in the Yala parc in the South East of the country, a must-see for nature lovers.

The snakes

At last, don’t go to Sri Lanka before having read a few lines on the different types of snakes you might find there. If there are few chances that the most dangerous find your way, it is good to know that the island owns more than 96 species. Don’t be surprised if you get some on your way during your trip in full nature! And if it does not scare you, in the villages, let yourself be hypnotised by the cobra charmers. A seducing show like we have rarely seen!