The only family of shrews in Sri Lanka and it includes 4 genera and 9 species.
Genus Crocidura – Two species are found
Crocidura horsfield – Horsfield’s shrew (Kunuhik Miya)
General information:- Very small shrew. Head & body length about 62 – 68mm. Total length about 111 – 113mm. Dorsal side dusky brown and ventral parts are dusky grey.
Habitats:- commonly found in areas of altitude 500 – 1500m. areas such as east matale hills, N’eliya, Uva hilla, haputhale.
Food :- mainly feed on worms, small grubs, insects, etc.
Crocidura miya – Sri Lanka Long Tailed Shrew (Sri LankaKunuhik Miya)
General information:- An endemic species. Dorsal side dark brown and ventral parts are grey. Head & body length about 75 – 83mm. Total length about 165 – 183mm. The only shrew which has a tail longer than the body.
Habitats:- An uncommonly species which is found between 1000 – 2000m of altitude. Areas such as central hills,Hakgala, haputhale, talawakele.
Feroculus feroculus – Kelaart’s long clawed Shrew (Pirihik miya)
General information:- Dorsal side ashy black and ventral parts are lighter. Head & body length about 115 – 118mm. Total length about 187 – 190mm. Reddish fore claws are longer.
Habitats:- Found between 1500 – 2500m of altitude. Found only in swamp & marshy areas of central mountains. Areas such as N’eliya, Horton Plains,
Solisorex pearsoni – Pearson’s long clawed Shrew ( Sri Lanka Mahik miya)
General information:- Very rare endemic species. Uniform dark greyish brown colour. Lower parts are lighter. Head & body length about 128 – 134mm. Total length about 187 – 200mm. Fore claws are longer. Compared with Kelaart’s long clawed Shrew large in size & shorter tail.
Habitats:- Found between 1000 – 2500m of altitude. Found mainly central mountains. Areas such as N’eliya, Horton Plains, Hakgala, East Matale hills.
Five species are found in Sri Lanka under this Genus. Two of them are endemic to Sri Lanka.
Five species are,
• Suncus etruscus
• Suncus fellowes – gordoni (Endemic)
• Suncus montanus
• Suncus murinus
• Suncus zeylanicus (Endemic)
Suncus fellowes – gordoni – Sri Lanka pigmy Shrew ( Sri Lanka podi hik miya)
General information:- Very rare endemic species. This is the smallest mammal in Sri Lanka. Dorsal side chocolate brown and ventral side dark grey. Head & body length about 46 –58mm. Total length about 87 – 95mm. Females are slightly smaller than males.
Habitats:- Found between 1000 – 2500m of altitude. Found in highlands of Uva and central province. Areas such as East Matale hills, Talawakele.
Suncus zeylanieus – Sri Lanka jungle Shrew ( Sri Lanka Kele hik miya)
General information:- Very rare endemic species. This is the smallest mammal in Sri Lanka. Dorsal side steel grey and ventral side slightly lighter. Head & body length about 101 –114mm. Total length about 185 – 211mm.
Habitats:- Found around 1000m of altitude. Areas such as damp forests of sabaragamuwa and central hills.
Suncus murinus – Common musk shrew( Podhu hik miya)
General information:- Head & body length about 109–112mm. Total length about 178 – 210mm. Generalized colour of dorsal bluish grey & under parts lighter.
Habitats:- Commonly found in dry zone of Sri Lanka. Areas such as Jaffna, wariyapola, kurunagala, Kekirawa, katharagama, Thanamalwila, etc. The sub species Suncus murinus kandianus is found in central, Uva and Sabaragamuwa hills.
Suncus montanus – Highland shrew( Kandu hik miya)
General information:- Blackish brown to almost black coloured. Also known as Black Shrew. Head & body length about 91–115mm. Total length about 156 – 187mm.
Habitats:- Common shrew in highlands. Found in slopes of highest mountains, central hills and sabaragamuwa mountains.
This family includes rats, mice and rat like rodents. Majority are terrestrial and some are arboreal and some are semi aquatic.
The difference between rat & mouse?
• Rat is used to describe medium-sized rodents with long thin tails. Mouse is used to describe tiny, sparrow-sized rodents with long thin tails.
Bandicata indica – The Indian/Malabar bandicoot (Uru Miya)
General information:- The largest form of rodents in Sri Lanka. Head & body length about 270 – 350mm. total length about 560 – 670mm. Dorsal side dark greyish in colour and ventral parts are light greyish colour. Purely nocturnal.
Habitats:- generally it lives in suitable wooded areas which are abundant with moisture. By day it lives in a burrow dug in the soft soil in damp banks or slopes. In the island it is abundant in low land wet zones and in hills (in C & D mammalian zones). It is less in number in lowland of dry zone (A & B mammalian zones.).
Food :- mainly depend on yams, potatoes, grains, etc.
Bandicata bengalensis – The Mole rat (Hin Uru Miya) – two sub species.
Bandicata bengalensis gracilis – The most common form
General information:- a medium size rodent.Head & body length about 180 – 210 mm. total length about 370 – 420 mm. Dorsal side dark brown colour and ventral parts are light greyish colour.
Habitats:- abundant in many paddy fields and village gardens in wet zone & hills of medium size.
Food :- mainly feed on paddy and also on other foods such as seeds, sweet potatoes.
Bandicata bengalensis insularis – mostly found inpadd fields Jaffna peninsula. Slight differences in colour and habits.
Crenomys blanfordi – White tailed rat (waligasudu Miya)
General information:- upper parts earthy brown or sandy brown and lower parts are grey colour. Basal half to two – thirds of the tail is brown and terminal portion has white hair.
Habitats:- not a very common species. Mainly found in eastern & south eastern dry zone and hill sides of Uva Province. Areas such as Kumana, Passara.
Food :- grass, seeds and insects.
two sub species are found in Sri Lanka.
Golunda ellioti – Bush rat (Panduru miya)
General information:- head & body length about 130 – 150 mm. Total length about 230 – 270 mm. Dorsal parts are olive – brown coloured. Lower parts are light grey colour.
Food:- they mainly feed on grass – stems, roots, buds and small insects.
• Golunda ellioti ellioti – found in south – west lowland wet zone and mid country hills. Rare in dry zone.
• Golunda ellioti nuwara – found in central hills of the island. Mainly found in hills that are higher than 1200 m. areas such as Horton Plains, Nuwara Eliya.
two sub species are found in Sri Lanka.
Millardia meltada – Soft furred field rat ()
General information:- head & body length about 120 – 140 mm. Total length about 230 – 250 mm. Dorsal parts are greyish brown coloured. Lower parts are white or whitish grey colour.
Food:- they mainly feed on grains, seeds and cereals. Commonly feed on paddy.
Habitats:- Found mainly in cultivated areas. In the island it is found in it is common in southern and eastern parts such as Ruhana National Park, Yala National Park, Kumana.
Genus Mus – four species are found in Sri Lanka
• Mus fernandoni – Sri Lanka spiny mouse (Podi miya) Endemic Species.
General information:- Very small in size. Dorsal parts are dark grey colour. Very spinous fur on the dorsal area. These spines are intermixed with very fine hairs. Short spines with few fine hair found in ventral surface. Under parts are pure white colour. Head and body length 90 – 101mm. Total length about 146 – 179mm.
Habitats:- this species is present in small numbers in south – east dry zone, lower slopes of the foothills of Uva.
Mus mayori – Sri Lanka bicoloured spiny mouse (Sri Lanka Depehe katu hin – miya) Endemic Species. – two sub species are found in island.
General information:- moderately small in size. Dorsal parts are colour. One part of the dorsal surface is harsh & spiny and the other part is soft & fine. Short & less spines are found in ventral surface. Head and body length 90 – 120mm. Total length about 181 – 220mm.
Food:- mainly feed on seeds, berries, succulent shoots and small insects.
Mus mayori mayori – found in mountain forests & stream banks of highlands above 1500m. Abundant in areas such as Horton Plains, Ohiya, Nuwara eliya.
Mus mayori pococki – found in lowland wet lands and East Mathale Hills. .
• Mus musculus – Indian house mouse (Kossatu miya)
General information:- small in size. Head and body length 74 – 88mm. Total length about 155 – 180mm. Short, soft and dense fur with no spines. Upper side is dark brown. Under parts are dark grey colour.
Food – it depends on grain, remnants of man’s food, insects.
Habitats:- typically found all over the island both in highlands and lowlands. Found inside buildings.
Mus booduga – Sri Lanka field mouse (Podi Wel Miya)
General information:- upper parts are dark brown, lower part are greyish – white to pure white. Head and body length about 73 – 85mm. Total length about 135 – 175mm.
Food:- feed on seeds, grass roots, small insects, paddy, etc.
Habitats:- distributed all over the Island. But more common in paddy fields & grasslands of lowlands. Rarely occupies the dense jungles.
Genus Rattus – two indigenous and one inroduced species can be identified.
Rattus montanus – The Nillu rat (Kelle miya) Endemic Species.
General information:- moderately large sized rats. Dorsal area dark grey brown colour. Under parts are steel grey colour. Unicolour tail. Head & body length 160 – 180mm. Total length 350 – 400mm.
Food:- feed on vegetable matter and in Nuwara Eliya it is found that they feed on seeds of “Nillu” shrubs. Also feeds on insects and other seeds.
Habitats:-found in central mountains of the island. Found in Horton Plains, Haputhale, Ohiya, Nuwara Eliya.
Rattus rattus – The common rat (Podu Ge Miya) – five sub species can be identified in Sri Lanka.
General information:- Found all over the island.
Rattus rattus rattus – mainly found in sea – coast areas such as Colombo, Galle, Trincomalee.
Rattus rattus alexandrinus – like the above sub species, this sub species is also common in docks and populated areas such as Colombo, Galle, etc.
Rattus rattus rufescens - found mostly in towns in dry zone such as Jaffna, Trincomalee, Baticaloa, Hambantota.
Rattus rattus kandianus – found in central hills, lower hills, lowlands of the island. Mostly found in immediate vicinity of man.
Rattus rattus kelaarti – confined to jungles of highlands of the island particularly above 1500m.
Rattus norvegicus – The Brown Rat (Bora Miya) – The introduced species of Genus Rattus.
General information:- Head & body length 214 – 275mm. Total length 384 – 450mm.
Habitats:- Mainly found in dockland areas around Colombo, Galle, Trincomalee.
Srilankamus ohiensis – Srilanka Bi-coloured rat (Depehe miya) Endemic Species.
General information:- moderately large sized rats. Dorsal area dark to blakish brown. Under parts pure white. Bicolour tail. Upper half is dusky black and lower half pure white. Head & body length 150 – 175mm. Total length 320 – 375mm.
Habitats:- Central hills of the island. More common in dense, damp jungles in Ohiya, Horton Plains, Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and other highlands of central & Uva provinces.
Vandeleuria nolthenii – Sri Lanka Long tailed tree mouse (podi gas miya) Endemic Species.
General information:- small mouse. General colour of upper dark brown and lower hoary grey colour. Head & body length 83 – 87mm. Total length 210 – 215mm.
Food:- commonly feed on small fruits and seeds, small insects, eggs of small birds, etc.
Habitats:-It lives among trees and bushes. This tree mouse is found in central hills and Uva areas such as Ohiya, Haputhale, Mathale hills.
Vandeleuria oleracea – Indian long tail tree mouse (gas miya)
General information:- small mouse. General colour of upper dark brown and lower creamy white colour. Head & body length 75 – 88mm. Total length 180 – 210mm.
Food:- commonly feed on small fruits, grains, buds, flowers, small insects, eggs of small birds.
Habitats:- A resident in low country wet and dry zones and lower hills areas such as Kaluthara, Mathugama, Welimada, central hills, and in northern dry zone.
Tatera indica – Antelope rat/Ceylon Gerbil (Weli miya)
General information:- General colour. Head & body length 160 – 205mm. Total length 360 – 420mm.
Food:- commonly feed on small fruits, grains, buds, flowers, small insects, eggs of small birds.
Habitats:- well distributed all over the world. But common in low lands of the dry zone.
Family Pteromydae - This family includes the flying squirrels.
Petaurista philippensis – Giant flying squirrel (Loku Hambawa)
General information:- Usually dark brown colour dorsal surface and under parts are greyish white coloured. Dark greyish tail. The membrane is darker grey. Head & body length is 432 – 470mm. Total length 930 – 1020mm.
Food:- wild fruits, berries, nuts, young shoots, leaves, flowers, immature barks, insects.
Habitats:- Arboreal and nocturnal animal. Common in hills of central mountain region. Hills in Uva & Sabaragamuva and low hills in the dry zone.
Petaurista fuscocapillus – Small flying squirrel (Heen Hambawa)
General information:- Reddish brown to black colour. Above whitish brown. Lower reddish brown colour. The membrane is sooty black above. Head & body length is 320– 330mm. Total length 560 – 610mm.
Food:- wild fruits, berries, nuts, young shoots, immature barks.
Habitats:- Arboreal and nocturnal animal. Very rare animal. Restricted to hills of medium altitude areas such as Dimbula, Dikoya, Kithulgala.
Family Sciuridae - This family includes palm and jungle squirrels.
Funambulus layardi – Sri Lanka Flame stripped jungle squirrel (Sri Lanka Mukalan Leena) Endemic Species.– two sub species are found.
General information:- Blackish brown above. Middle strips yellowish buff, broad and long. Bright reddish brown below. Head & body length is 150 – 170mm. Total length 300 – 320mm.
Food:- wild fruits, berries, nuts, young shoots, lichens growing on the stems of trees.
Funambulus layardi layardi – Found in damp forests of medium altitude. Found in East Matale hills, Peak Wilderness, Kandy, Kithulgala.
Funambulus layardi signatus – found mainly in rain forests of south western foot hills& south western wet zone. Areas such as Rathnapura, Rakwana, Balangoda and some areas of southern province.
Funambulus palmarum – Palm squirrel (Lena) – four sub species resident in Sri Lanka
General information:- dorsal colour is generalized grey to black colour. dirty white colour below . Head & body length is 140 – 180mm. Total length 240 – 350mm.
Food:- wild fruits, berries, nuts, young shoots, lichens growing on the stems of trees, insects.
Funambulus palmarum brodiei – Common in extreme northern districts and north western coastal areas such as Puttalam, Jaffna peninsula.
Funambulus palmarum kelaarti – common in dry zones of the island. It is found in areas such as Hambanthota, Ranna, low land areas of Uva province
Funambulus palmarum olympius – common in highlands of central hills. Areas such as Hatton, Thalawakele, and other areas close vicinity to humans. It appears to be avoid jungles.
Funambulus palmarum favonicus – found in southern parts of the island and other low country wet zones. Areas such as Galle, Rakwana, Balangoda, Kaluthara, Kegalle, Colombo, etc.
Funambulus sublineatus – Dusky stripped jungle squirrel (Punchi Leena) –
General information:- Dull dark brown tinged with rusty red coloured. Dark above and greyish brown below. Tail tip black. Head & body length is 110– 130mm. Total length 220 – 240mm.
Food:- feed mainly on seeds, nuts, small fruits, young shoots and insects.
Habitats:- confined to jungles of the hills, hilly rainy forests of Rathnapura, Rakwana, also found in southern areas such as Galle.
Ratufa macroura – Giant Squirrel (Dandu Leena) – three sub species are found in Sri Lanka.
General information:- A clear colour difference between dry zone and wet zone sub species. In wet zone sub species blackish brown above and light yellow below. Tail black. In dry zone sub species greyish brown above and dirty white below. Tail grey brown. Head & body length is 300– 400mm. Total length 630 – 820mm.
Food:- Leaves, barks,young twing and shoots, insects, lichens, etc.
Ratufa macroura macroura – forests of highland of Central and Uva provinces. Common in Horton Plains and in Nuwara Eliya areas.
Ratufa macroura melanochra – forests and evergreen woods of wet zone. Areas such as Peak wilderness, Rathnapura, Matara, Galle, kaluthara, Kegalle, Balangoda, etc.
Ratufa macroura dandolena – found mainly in the dry zone of the country. Common in low land jungles and wooded country throughout the dry zone.