Pest Detective is an online tool to help people in New Zealand identify the presence of pest animals.
Pest animals are often nocturnal and hard to spot. They leave tell-tale clues that tell us they are in the area.
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
We've just filled a gap in our red deer clue illustrations, thanks to Astrid van Meeuwen-Dijkgraaf, ecologist at Wildlands Consultants, who is a regular contributor to our photo gallery. Red deer sometimes leave hair where they have rubbed against trees or when crossing fences. This was a piece of pelt on a fence, presumably left by a hunter. Astrid took the opportunity to photograph the typical appearance of the outer and inner coat. See more > Red deer
The Norway rat is the largest rat species in New Zealand. They are omnivores and scavengers, eating plants (seeds, fruits and foliage); animals (birds, reptiles, insects, shellfish) and even garbage. They can climb but are mostly ground-dwelling, so particularly threaten native species that live, roost or nest on or near the ground. For typical sign see > Norway rat
Junior Pest Detectives
This comes from a bird and looks a bit like a poached egg but it's not – in fact you certainly should not eat it! Can you guess what it is and from what bird? > Find out here.
Latest from 'On the case' pest detection news
22 March 2018
Here is compelling evidence of plague skink predation.
The moth is of Family Noctuidae and is probably Graphania mutans (New Zealand cutworm also known as grey-brown cutworm) which is one New Zealand's larger native moth species. A second photograph in our plague skink kill sign section shows the moth remains.
John Stanford, who photographed this animal on the deck at his home in Muriwai, said there are a lot of plague skinks in the area.