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

20161025 possum tracks 11x200Thanks to Nick Poutu for filling a gap in our photo collection: in this case, possum footprints in mud in the Kaimai Range. Two hand-like forefoot prints are clearly visible, with a smudged hindfoot print characteristically close behind a forefoot print (the top one).

See this photo and more on possums.

Culprit corner

Ship rat 6 x200wShip rats are the most abundant rat species in New Zealand, occurring in three main colour variations here, as shown. Like the other rats, they have inflicted huge damage on our ecosystems. 

Find out more about them and how to distinguish them from kiore (Pacific rat) and Norway rat in our ship rat section.

Junior Pest Detectives

Culprits poster thumb 165wPrint off this poster and pin it up at home, school or maybe your local scout hall.

It shows the line-up of animal pests currently featured on Pest Detective. If you want to learn more about any of these animals and the signs they leave around, go to our Culprits section.

You can download the poster and two activity sheets in our Kids’ Activities section.


Latest from 'On the case' pest detection news

Wallaby Bennett Thomas Bresson

Lottery funding supports Pest Detective

18 February 2016

This year, we will be adding eleven more pest species to our line-up of culprits, thanks to the generous support of the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board.

Dama and Bennett's wallabies will be amongst the newly featured species. They currently occur in areas of  Otago, Canterbury, Bay of Plenty and Waikato, and their distribution and impacts are being assessed pending a decision in September 2016 on their 'unwanted organism' status in New Zealand.

Read more

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