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

20180827 Brown hare veg 11200sqThis new image of hare browse on an apple has filled a gap in our collection, thanks to Ken Wright of Nelson. Not a lot is known about what fruit and flowers brown hare favour but this apple on the ground in an orchard was clearly tasty to the hare that found it.
> See more about damage to fruit and flowers

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

20180902 Brown hare 6x200Keep an eye out this spring for what is known in the northern hemisphere as 'mad March hares'. Although usually nocturnal and solitary, hares are seen more often in daytime during the breeding season, sometimes with 'mad' chasing and boxing behaviour. At other times, they might be seen together in small family groups or on favoured crops. This remarkable photo is newly acquired, along with others of hare sign > see more

Junior Pest Detectives

Brown hare tracks 8sqThe animal that made this little hollow uses it to sleep in during the day. It scrapes away the grass to make a shallow depression and likes to sleep on the exposed soil.

Can you guess what the animal is? Hint: it has long ears and long legs and big front teeth. > Answer


Latest from 'On the case' pest detection news

Mimosa tree Carl Lewis

It’s Conservation Week – a good time for backyard pest detection

17 September 2018

It was backyard detective work that spurred Mimi Olds-Spence, of Auckland, to get active in conservation some months ago.

She noticed that her beloved silk tree was being decimated. Something was eating the flowers and leaves, strewing the ground with fragments and breaking branches – all typical signs of possum browse. Droppings confirmed the culprit. There were other signs too.

Read more