New Zealand has so much to offer all that visit this country or that live there. From the excitement of a big city like Auckland to the small towns that can be found throughout the land, there is something for everyone. Here are the 10 startling facts about the wildlife of New Zealand.
You will also find plenty of natural beauty to see in New Zealand. Beaches and mountains and everything provides great scenery, but for many people exploring the wildlife of New Zealand could be the most unique way to see this city.
New Zealand is home to hundreds of animals and many of them can only be found in New Zealand. Watching them in their natural habitat is a much better experience than seeing them in a zoo that has done its best to preserve the real thing, but that usually falls a little short. The list of animals that can be found in New Zealand is long and varied.
You will not find any lad predators, except for birds of prey, birds in New Zealand. You will find a mix of flightless birds and melodic forest birds. Here many birds are likely to come to check you out when hiking in the forests as they don’t see you as a threat.
Reptiles are another part of New Zealand wildlife. These are a little more elusive, made up of the likes of geckos and the tuatara known as the “living fossil” or “living dinosaur”. In the ocean waters, a boat trip is often accompanied by dolphins and sometimes whales. You can also see seals, eels, and stingrays in abundance in New Zealand’s waters.
10 Facts about Wildlife of New Zealand
1. New Zealand has only one Native Land Mammals
You will find long-tailed and short-tailed bats – two types of native land mammals – in New Zealand. Reptiles and birds dominate New Zealand’s land wildlife. Although, introduced land mammals like rabbits, stoats, possums, cats, dogs, rats, etc. are a huge threat to native New Zealand wildlife and are, therefore, considered a pest. The two species of bats usually feed on New Zealand bugs that are plenty.
2. New Zealand is home to the World’s Heaviest Insect
Have you heard of the New Zealand Bugs? The huge weta is the heaviest insect in the world. It is amazingly heavier than a sparrow. There are 70 types of weta in New Zealand and you can find them in caves and forests. The best time to see them is when walking in the forest at night.
3. There are six species of Penguin in New Zealand
Out of the world’s 17 different penguin species, you can find six of them in New Zealand! The most common species seen when traveling around New Zealand are the little blue penguins, yellow-eyed penguins, and Fiordland-crested penguins. To enhance the chances of seeing wild penguins in a non-intrusive way is to go on a wildlife-spotting tour.
Little blue penguins are not completely unique to New Zealand, but New Zealand sure has the most amount waddling on the coastlines and off-shore islands.
4. Kea can pull your Car Apart
The kea is a cunning native parrot widely known for ripping rubber seals in cars apart, as well as windscreen wipers. They are the world’s only alpine parrot, so you are likely to see these intelligent birds in the mountain on the South Island. They are commonly seen on the road to Milford Sound and Arthur’s Pass.
5. There are no dangerous animals in New Zealand
Unlike New Zealand’s neighbors, Australia, you will not find any animals that are quite dangerous out there that can kill you. While New Zealand wildlife is quite safe, there is, however, three types of spider that can hurt if they bite, which is a rare occurrence. These include the white-tailed spider, redback spider, and katipo spider.
6. The South Island is Home to a Carnivorous Snail
The powelliphanta is the largest carnivorous snail in the world. Although there are no dangerous animals in New Zealand, a flesh-eating snail is worth mentioning. They can grow as large as a man’s fist and suck up worms like spaghetti. These are no threat to humans, only to worms and New Zealand bugs. They can be found on the South Island in Haast and Fiordland National Park.
7. New Zealand Used to Have Giant Birds
The moa was a huge species of bird that were known to have grown 3.6m (11.8ft) in height and weighing around 230kg (507lbs). They became extinct after the humans starting migrating to New Zealand because they were an easy kill and a large meal Many museums across the county have moa bones and skeletons on display to appreciate the size of these birds.
8. There are No Land Snakes in New Zealand
You will not find any land snakes in New Zealand, unlike Australia! However, yellow-bellied sea snakes and kraits are occasional visitors to New Zealand’s waters, which you can learn more about on the Department of Conservation website. In New Zealand, you will find several species of lizard!
9. Kiwi Birds lay largest eggs in proportion to their size and have a Great Sense of Smell
There are many fascinating facts about kiwi birds, which makes them New Zealand’s national icon. Among some of those facts is that female kiwi lay one of the world’s largest eggs in proportion to body size. Plus, the kiwi is the only bird to have nostrils at the end of its bill to smell insects in the ground.
No New Zealand native animal list would ever be complete without mentioning the country’s most famous bird kiwi (always lowercase, unless you’re talking about humans). It is quite an interesting little bird. It’s flightless, can live between 25 to 50 years, has hair-like feathers, and has strong legs but no tail. There are five different species of kiwi and, because of its strong cultural presence, the bird is continuously being protected from extinction.
10. Tuatara – Living Descendant of the Dinosaur Era with a Third Eye
It is a native lizard in New Zealand that comes from a distinct lineage, the order Rhynchocephalia – an order that survived around 200 million years ago. They are often described as “living fossils” because they have retained many characteristics from species that were alive during the dinosaur era. The tuatara also has a third eye known as a parietal eye on the top of its head. The most famous tuatara is Henry who became a father for the first time aged 111. You can visit Henry at the Southland Museum.
These are the 10 startling facts about the wildlife of New Zealand and the less-known facts about the wildlife in New Zealand. Hopefully, it will add to your knowledge and curiosity to visit New Zealand.