Pest Detective is an online tool to help people in New Zealand identify the presence of vertebrate pest animals.

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Pest animals are often nocturnal and hard to spot. They leave tell-tale clues that tell us they are in the area.

Browse by Clues

If you are not sure what animal pest you have, browse our photo library of animal signs and match to your examples.

Browse by Culprit

If you think you have identified a pest species, browse the visual examples of its field signs to check your identification and learn more about it.

What do we mean by 'pest animal?'

The animals featured in Pest Detective have all been introduced to New Zealand either by accident or intentionally. They are regarded as pests because they threaten the health of our native ecosystems and/or primary production sector, though special management is required where people value a species for such things as hunting, agriculture or as pets  > read more

Looking for Other kinds of Pests?

If you are looking for information about pest fish or non-vertebrate pests, like insects or weeds, we can refer you on to other websites you might find helpful.  > read more

Clue corner

Mouse droppings 1 500x50Mouse droppings are very small, although larger than those of plague skinks. At 3.9 - 7.6 mm in length, the pellets can, however, be confused with those of juvenile kiore or ship rats – or weta! Mice drop the single, strong-smelling pellets wherever they go. See more > mouse

Using Pest Detective in Field

Mobile Pest Detec usePest Detective can be used on mobile devices – no special app is required. 

It is not available offline although this is something we would investigate if there is enough demand. If you are out of internet range you can save content in PDF form to your mobile device or, of course, print onto paper > read more 

Culprit corner

Ferret 1sqFerrets are a serious threat in efforts to boost and re-establish kiwi populations around the country. Kiwi recovery programmes often focus on protecting eggs and then raising chicks for release into the wild when they are big enough to defend themselves. However, ferrets are large enough to kill on adult kiwi. See more  > Ferret

Junior Pest Detectives

Cat 1 sqCats are excellent hunters, as they can move silently and creep up ready to pounce on their prey. Sadly, they kill our native birds, lizards and insects. Can you guess what furry animal (also a pest) this cat is stalking? Find out > here


Latest from 'On the case' pest detection news

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Watch for plague skinks - help prevent their spread

20 December 2018

Plague skinks have been discovered in Marlborough in the South Island. Although they have been spreading in the North Island for some time, this is the first time they've been observed in the South Island.

It is likely that plague skinks are being spread to new locations by accident, when they are inadvertantly transported in goods - especially potted plants.

So, be alert to signs of the species. If you live in an area where plague skinks are known to occur, including the latest area in Marlborough, or travelling through these areas, take care to check that you are not being a carrier.

What to look out for?

Read more