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

20180615 cat droppings 1 200sqDroppings are often the most obvious sign of cats. The droppings will vary with diet but usually contain matted fur and, if the animal has been hunting, feathers and/or bones. They can also resemble dog and mustelid droppings but there are distinguishing features > find out more.

Using Pest Detective in Field

Pest 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

20180615 mouse veg 1 200sqMice are small but they damage ecosystems. They eat such a wide variety of plant and animal material that forest regeneration and food sources for native fauna are affected. Being a staple food for cats and stoats, rapid increases in mouse populations during good seasons can cause cat and stoat populations to also rise, with increased predation on native birds. > see more

Junior Pest Detectives

20180615 ungulate feet 200sqThese are hoof prints made by the 11 species of hoofed mammals (or ungulates) listed on Pest Detective. Each hoof is split into two parts called claws. The claws are a special type of toe. Look for the similarities and differences in size and shape of hoof prints made by each species here. In what ways do hoofs differ from paws?


Latest from 'On the case' pest detection news

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Using Pest Detective in the Field

16 June 2018

Did you know that Pest Detective is usable on mobile devices, including phones? No special app is required.

However, Haydn Butler pointed out that he often goes out of cell phone range. He wondered if there is a printed field guide with the same clue information that could be used for people doing pest work in remote areas.

Read more