Animals in New Caledonia

Updated: January 12, 2023
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Below you can find a complete list of New Caledonian animals. We currently track 130 animals in New Caledonia and are adding more every day!

New Caledonia is a French-owned island territory around 900 miles east of Australia. It comprises many islands, but its main islands are New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands, Iles des Pins, and the Belen Islands. There are also many small uninhabited islands, coral reefs, and atolls.

New Caledonia is known for its mild climate, gorgeous beaches and unspoiled waters. It is considered an ecological hotspot for its rich biodiversity and healthy coral reefs.

What is the National Animal of New Caledonia?

Its national animal is the Cagou or kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus). This bird is the last remaining member of the endemic Rhynochetidae family.

The kagu is a large, gray bird with a beautiful white crest on its head. Its gray color has given it the nickname “ghost of the forest.” It makes a unique “barking” sound when it is threatened or trying to attract a mate.

Kagus were plentiful in New Caledonia until the islands became heavily inhabited. The introduction of domestic pets and the pet trade decimated their numbers, however. Today, kagus are a protected species. Some zoos, including the San Diego Zoo and Noumea Zoo in New Caledonia, have successfully bred kagus in captivity.

Wildlife in New Caledonia

New Caledonia has been isolated from most of the world until the past two centuries. Its remoteness and isolation have created unique flora and fauna that only exist there.

Like other island countries with healthy reef systems, New Caledonia is an important nesting and feeding site for green sea turtles, whales, and killer whales. It is also a sanctuary for endangered marine mammals. The population of dugongs here is the third-largest in the world.

What Kinds of Animals Live in New Caledonia?

New Caledonia is home to almost 200 bird species and many types of marine life. Among the rare birds, you will find are the black-winged petrel, sacred kingfisher, silver gull, white tern, wandering whistling duck, and the zebra dove.

It is also home to more than 100 reptile species. You can easily find almost every type of gecko and skink here.

New Caledonia is noteworthy for its endemic bavayias, which are sometimes known as New Caledonian. These 12 species are small to medium-sized geckos with longer tails than other gecko species.

New Caledonia’s only mammals include several endemic bat and flying fox species. You can see the New Caledonia blossom bat (Notopteris neocaledonicus), the Loyalty Island long-fingered bat (Miniopterus robustior) and the ornate flying fox (Pteropus ornatu).

Interesting Facts About the Fauna of New Caledonia

Besides having unique species, New Caledonia is interesting for what it doesn’t have. On this island territory, there are:

Where Can You See the Top Wild Animals in New Caledonia?

There are several protected areas on both land and sea in New Caledonia. Blue River National Park is a sanctuary for kagu birds. The Noumea Zoo and Forest Park is a conservation site for reptiles, bats and native birds.

Parc des Grands Fougeres is a vast national park that protects hundreds of acres of rainforest and ferns.

New Caledonia’s lagoons, with their diverse reefs and associated ecosystems, were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. The Natural Park of the Coral Sea protects these reefs and more than 50,000 square miles of marine ecosystems essential to the people, biodiversity and climate resilience of the Pacific islands.

This massive protected area helps preserve the health of these important ecosystems.

For local people, the lagoon provides water, food and a means of trade. Its health is vital to their unique traditions.

A Sanctuary for Endangered Wildlife

New Caledonia is famous for its diverse ecosystems and many unusual creatures. It is an important nesting and feeding site for sea turtles, dugongs, unusual bats and rare birds. Conservationists hope these islands will continue to provide shelter and sanctuary for the world’s most precious endangered species.

The Flag of New Caledonia

There are two flags in use in New Caledonia – the French tricolor flag and the Kanak flag of independence, which was just adopted in 2010.

New Caledonian Animals


First evolved 100 million years ago!

Apple Moth

In Australia the LBAM causes $21.1 million annually in lost production and control costs

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!


Detects prey using echolocation!

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs feed for 4-12 minutes.


Rock paintings of bees date back 15,000 years


There are more than 350,000 different species


Not all birds are able to fly!

Biscuit Beetle

The biscuit beetle form a symbiotic relationship with yeast

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Brown Dog Tick

Can live its entire life indoors


Natively found in Australia!


There are thought to be up 17,500 species!

Camel Cricket

The camel crickets that are found in the USA are light brown in color. They also have dark streaks all over their body.


May have been domesticated up to 10,000 years ago.


The larvae of a moth or butterfly!


There are nearly 3,000 different species!


There are about 3,000 documented species!


First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!


Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Coconut Crab 

The largest terrestrial arthropod in the world

Codling Moth

Pupae are able to undergo diapause to survive poor fruit yield years and winter.

Common Furniture Beetle

The common furniture beetle feeds exclusively on wood

Common House Spider

House spiders have the ability to eat most insects in a home.


They can fly 35 mph and dive 150 feet below water.


There are nearly 1.5 billion worldwide!


There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings


Many are critically endangered species!

Crested Gecko

The crested gecko can walk on glass and even has a prehensile tail.

Crested Penguin

Has long yellow eyebrows!


Male crickets can produce sounds by rubbing their wings together


Have changed little in 200 million years!

Deathwatch Beetle

The adult deathwatch beetle taps on the wood to find a mate.


First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Dog Tick

Dog ticks feed on dogs and other mammals


First domesticated 5,000 years ago!


It's larvae are carnivorous!


Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Dung Beetle

The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight

Dusky Shark

The Dusky Shark sometimes eats trash discarded by humans.


They are hermaphrodites, which means they have male and female organs


There are nearly 2,000 different species!


Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!

False Widow Spider

False spiders actually prey on black widow spiders and other hazardous spiders


The firefly produces some of the most efficient light in the world


Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air


There are more than 240,000 different species!


There are around 7,000 different species!

Fruit Fly

Fruit flies are among the most common research animals in the world

Gargoyle Gecko

Gargoyle Geckos are about an inch long and weigh as little as 3 grams when they hatch!


There are thought to be over 2,000 species!


Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!


Males form large mating swarms at dusk


There are 11,000 known species!


Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!


Can reach speeds of over 50 mph!

Hawk Moth Caterpillar

Many hawk moth caterpillars eat toxins from plants, but don’t sequester them the way milkweed butterflies do. Most toxins are excreted.


Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Highland Cattle

Natively found in the Scottish Highlands!

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!


The bird has a massive horn on its bill!


Has evolved over 50 million years!


Horseflies have been seen performing Immelmann turns, much like fighter jets.


The fly has no teeth


Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!

Huntsman Spider

Some huntsman spiders have an interesting way of moving around. Some cartwheel while others do handsprings or backflips.


Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!


There are an estimated 30 million species!


The endangered kagu is the only bird in the world with nasal corns!


There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!


Has 10 pairs of eyes!


There are around 5,000 different species!


They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Marine Toad

Produces a toxin used in arrow darts!


There are 2,500 known species worldwide!


They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.


Some species have a poisonous bite!

Monarch Butterfly

During migration, Monarch Butterflies may travel 250 or more miles each day.


Has characteristics of two or more breeds!

Monitor Lizard

Some species are thought to carry a weak venom!


There are around 260 known species!


Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!


There are 250,000 different species!


Found on every continent on Earth!

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males


There are 13 different species worldwide


The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees


Can live for up to 100 years!


Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Pompano Fish

They are bottom-feeders


There are 69 species on the Australian continent!

Praying Mantis

The mantis can turn its head 180 degrees.


Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!


Omnivores that eat anything!

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!


There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!


The capybara, the world’s largest rodent, likes to be in and around bodies of water. Because of this, the Catholic Church in South America decided that it was a fish, and people were allowed to eat it during Lent and First Fridays.


Will mate with the entire flock!

Sable Ferret

Ferrets were used during the Revolutionary War to keep down the rat population.

Sand Crab

The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail


There are around 2,000 known species!

Sea Dragon

Inhabits tropical coastal waters of Australia!

Sea Eagle

The sea eagle tends to mate for life with a single partner


Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!


Around 35 million in the English countryside!


There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Smokybrown Cockroach

Has up to 45 eggs per egg case


There are nearly 1,000 different species!


There are around 4,000 known species worldwide


There are 140 different species!

Spotted Garden Eel

Males battle each other over females and territory

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!

Striped Rocket Frog

Long powerful hind legs!


Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.


Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!


They inject hosts with a chemical that stops them from feeling the pain of the bite

Tiger Beetle

The adult tiger beetle is one of the fastest land insects in the world


Can live until they are more than 150 years old!


Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.


There are around 75,000 recognised species!

Water Buffalo

Has been domesticated for thousands of years!

Water Dragon

Spends most of it's time in the trees!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.


This animal can roll up into a ball


Doesn’t have eyes.

New Caledonian Animals List

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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What Animals Are Extinct or Endangered in New Caledonia?

Dugongs: These gentle giants of the sea are similar to manatees. They are almost extinct everywhere, but New Caledonia is one of their chief sanctuaries.

Bats: The New Caledonia long-eared bat (Nyctophilus nebulosus), which was discovered in 1991, is an endangered endemic bat. At one time, scientists thought it was extinct, but conservationists have had confirmed recent sightings.

What Unique Animal Lives in New Caledonia, and What Makes It Unique?

The kagu, a flightless bird, is the rarest bird on the island. This flightless, endangered bird is also the national animal of New Caledonia. Kagus are known for the unusual barking noise they make when they are trying to scare off predators or other kagus.

Other unique birds endemic to New Caledonia are the New Caledonia imperial pigeon (Ducula goliath), which is the world’s largest arboreal pigeon, the cloven-feathered dove (Drepanoptila holosericea), and the New Caledonian owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles savesi), which is critically endangered.

What Are the Most Dangerous Animals in New Caledonia?

Although the country does not have venomous land snakes, it is home to two highly dangerous sea snakes. The Laboute’s sea snake (Hydrophis laboutei) and the New Caledonian sea krait (Laticauda saintgironsi) are highly venomous snakes whose bites can be fatal.

New Caledonia’s dangerous land animals include large, tropical centipedes and scorpions.