Pest Detective is an online tool to help people in New Zealand identify the presence of vertebrate pest animals.
Pest animals are often nocturnal and hard to spot. They leave tell-tale clues that tell us they are in the area.
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
Why are the Culprits not in alphabetical order?
The species on the culprits page are generally grouped with other species that have similar field sign. Grouping them together makes it easier to compare clues, especially the images in the Clues section. Each group of more closely related species (e.g. mustelids) are arranged by size from small to large. See more >
Rats have gnawed on this karo seed and extracted most of the black seeds from the fleshy pith. Karo is not a threatened plant but rarely regenerates on rat-infested offshore islands. In this instance, ship rat were suspected from the size of tooth marks and nearby droppings, and several trap catches nearby > see more about fruit and flower clues
How to access in the field?
Pest Detective can be used on mobile devices – no special app is required.
Where internet coverage is likely to be doubtful, you can download and save or print chosen pages from Pest Detective as PDFs to take with you > read how
Himalayan tahr are currently in the news, due to the Department of Conservation's plans to reduce the tahr population to within set limits. In New Zealand, tahr are found in various parts of the Southern Alps, where they can inflict considerable damge on alpine and sub-alpine vegetation if tnumbers increase too much > see more on DOC's website or our Himalayan tahr page.
Latest from 'On the case' pest detection news
3 August 2020
When the Pickard family set up a tracking tunnel in their back yard in Arrowtown they expected to get rat prints but the only clear print they got didn’t look right. So they sent this photo to us at Pest Detective and asked what we thought.
It wasn’t a complete paw print but there was enough evidence to suggest it was a hedgehog’s.