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

20180312 red deer other 2 200sqWe've just filled a gap in our red deer clue illustrations, thanks to Astrid van Meeuwen-Dijkgraaf, ecologist at Wildlands Consultants, who is a regular contributor to our photo gallery. Red deer sometimes leave hair where they have rubbed against trees or when crossing fences. This was a piece of pelt on a fence, presumably left by a hunter. Astrid took the opportunity to photograph the typical appearance of the outer and inner coat. See more > Red deer

Culprit corner

Possum 1 200sqPossums are amongst's New Zealand's most troublesome pest animals because they can do damage in a number of ways: eating plant foliage, flowers and fruit; competing with native fauna for food; preying on native birds and insects; – and, they can carry bovine tuberculosis (TB). See more > possums

Junior Pest Detectives

Magpie droppings 2 200sqThis comes from a bird and looks a bit like a poached egg but it's not – in fact you certainly should not eat it! Can you guess what it is and from what bird? > 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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