Pest Detective is an online tool to help people in New Zealand identify the presence of 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, see visual examples of its field signs 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

20180123 Brown hare droppings 200sqBrown hare droppings are generally larger than those of rabbits, more friable, often slightly flattened and lighter in colour, althuogh apperance differs according to individual animal's size, diet and the age of the droppings. Find out more > hare  and rabbit.


Culprit corner

StoatWeasel John Innes 200sqStoats and weasels are often confused but stoats are larger and have a longer tail with a black tip . The line between the brown fur and white/yellow fur is straight on stoats and wavy on weasels. See more > stoats  > weasels

Junior Pest Detectives

Cat in Concrete teddyThis pawprint has been made into a teddy bear picture by drawing eyes, nose and mouth at the back - the teddy's legs are the four toe prints. 

Can you guess what animal made the pawprint? Hint: it's a good hunter and it likes to purr. > Find out here.


Latest from 'On the case' pest detection news

20171102 on the case scavenging

Scavenger or killer?

2 November 2017

It's not easy to distinguish between original predator kill sign and scavenging.

Earlier this spring, Eliane Lagnaz sent us photos of just such an instance near Waipu in Northland. She had noticed a pair of paradise ducks, sounding vigorously, and spotted the entrance to their nest. Three weeks later, when she returned to the area, there was no sign of the birds but she saw a native swamp harrier fly up from the nest area. Eliane investigated and describes what she found.

Read more


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