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

Norway rat droppings, freshNorway rat droppings are larger and plumper than those of the three other rat species in New Zealand. They also have rounded rather than pointed ends. Compare the droppings of the three species (kiore, ship rat and Norway rat) at a glance by scrolling up on the droppings clue page.

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

Pig 4 200x200Feral pigs are well established throughout New Zealand and on 13 offshore islands. They root in the ground for food, causing significant damage by destroying pasture and other vegetation and disturbing soil. They prey on invertebrates, such as earthworms and native land snails, frogs, lizards and ground nesting birds and their eggs. > see more

Junior Pest Detectives

kiore 201703There are three rat species in New Zealand: - kiore, ship rat and Norway rat. Two are found just about everywhere in the country.

The other species occurs in only a few remote areas, as the pink areas on the map show. Can you guess which rat it is? Answer 


Latest from 'On the case' pest detection news

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All Hands on Deck

29 July 2019

He waka eke noa - All hands on deck’ is the theme of this year’s Biosecurity Week.

According to the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute (NZBI), we’re all in the waka together when it comes to protecting New Zealand’s native biodiversity and primary industries from invasive species.

NZBI is the professional organisation of people involved in all aspects of biosecurity in New Zealand. Institute President, Darion Embling, says that New Zealand has some very ambitious biosecurity goals, which will need technology, innovation and plenty of people power.

Read more