Wildlife in Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa

Naturally I enjoyed the wildlife on my travels. I intended to visit one of the national parks and see herds of elephants (apparently one can often see lots of babies in some of the herds), but the timing and pricing just wasn’t working for me…so I cut out of Polonnaruwa a day early and ended up delighted with those views of Kandy you’ve been enjoying.

An interesting aspect to my travels was my unusually dire concern about snakes. You who know me will agree, I think, that I’m not so much the paranoid type. But let me just tell you that every stick, every shadow that moved in the grass where I walked, became a cobra or some form of krait in my mind. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that, in those parts of the US where I’ve come across rattlers and such like, I’m usually wearing long pants and stiff boots…while I go virtually everywhere in Sri Lanka in sandals and light pants. Perhaps more to do with the fact that I’m more aware of the more widespread and common nature of poisonous snakes here than in my usual USA haunts. Or perhaps it’s just my general jumpiness. Be that as it may, the only slithering things I saw – if they could be called that – are the lizards, geckos and iguanas (???) of which you can see two examples below. The monkeys, of course, are fun – but at the same time, reflecting on Steve’s joy at the troops in Wulingyuan last year, I realize I’ve become a bit jaded…and as likely to see monkeys as a potential nuisance that might try burrowing into my backpack for my snacks as something to ooh and ahh over. Still and all, they are fun – and the ones hanging out on the roof of my (one-storey) hotel room made me think I had troops of toddlers running around upstairs.

This guy, and the ones on the roof of my Sigiriya hotel room, are all Hanuman Langurs, one of the three types of primate here. Note the grey fur and darker faces; yes, the name relates to Hanuman, the Hindu Monkey God.
Where this guy, checking out the lily pond at the Dambulla Royal Rock Caves, is a Toque Macaque, which are more numerous and occur just absolutely everywhere on the island.

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