IN addition to the larger game to be found in the low-country of Ceylon there are a number of small animals which the sportsman is likely enough to come across. A few words concerning these would not be out of place here.
There are three kinds of wild cats infesting the forests. The largest of these is the creature called the " tiger cat" or "fishing cat," felis viverrina. It is not found in the higher hills but may be met with in any part of the low-country. It is, however, seldom seen. The height of a full-grown male will be about 15 inches, the length from 40 to 50 inches, and the weight from 30 to 35 lbs. The body and limbs are wholly covered with black spots on a fulvous-grey ground. It has small ears and a short tapering ringed tail. It feeds on fish, snakes and mollusca among other things, and is consequently mostly found in thickets near tidal creeks, rivers and swamps.
The common "wild cat" felis chaus, sometimes called the "lynx cat," is somewhat larger than the domestic cat. It is not found in the hills and is not often seen even in the low-country except in the northern parts of the Island. It frequents bush-covered plains near jungle villages, and is very destructive, killing numbers of hares, peafowl, partridges, and other small game. It is of a bright tawny colour, mottled with black on the back, has large ears tipped with black hairs, and a tail with black rings at the end. It is very savage and untameable.
The only other wild cat is a pretty little reddish-grey creature, a little smaller than an English domestic cat, called the " rusty-spotted cat" or " red cat," felis rubiginosa. It is found everywhere, even in the highest hills, but is, nevertheless, not often seen. It is not usually found in the forest but in open places interspersed with bushes. It is easily tamed.
Natives do not make any distinction between these three small felines, but call them all alike " jungle cats," the Sinhalese name being wal-bâwa and the Tamil kâtu-punai.