Animals in New Caledonia

Below you can find a complete list of New Caledonian animals. We currently track 85 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.

New Caledonian Animals

Ant

First evolved 100 million years ago!

Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

Bat

Detects prey using echolocation!

Beetle

There are more than 350,000 different species

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

Budgerigar

Natively found in Australia!

Butterfly

There are thought to be up 20,000 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.

Cat

First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!

Caterpillar

The larvae of a moth or butterfly!

Catfish

There are nearly 3,000 different species!

Centipede

There are about 3,000 documented species!

Chicken

First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!

Cockroach

Dated to be around 300 million years old!

Cow

There are nearly 1.5 million worldwide!

Crab

There are 93 different crab groups

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings

Crane

Many are critically endangered species!

Crested Penguin

Has long yellow eyebrows!

Crocodile

Have changed little in 200 million years!

Dog

First domesticated in South-East Asia!

Donkey

First domesticated 5,000 years ago!

Dragonfly

It's larvae are carnivorous!

Duck

Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Dung Beetle

The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight

Earwig

There are nearly 2,000 different species!

Eel

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

Fly

There are more than 240,000 different species!

Frog

There are around 7,000 different species!

Gecko

There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

Glow Worm

Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!

Grasshopper

There are 11,000 known species!

Hamster

Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!

Hare

Can reach speeds of over 40 mph!

Heron

Inhabits wetlands around the world!

Highland Cattle

Natively found in the Scottish Highlands!

Honey Bee

There are only 8 recognized species!

Hornbill

The bird has a massive horn on its bill!

Horse

Has evolved over 50 million years!

Horsefly

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

Human

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.

Ibis

Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Lizard

There are around 5,000 different species!

Magpie

They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Marine Toad

Produces a toxin used in arrow darts!

Mayfly

There are 2,500 known species worldwide!

Millipede

Some species have a poisonous bite!

Monarch Butterfly

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

Mongrel

Has characteristics of two or more breeds!

Monitor Lizard

Some species are thought to carry a weak venom!

Monkey

There are around 260 known species!

Moorhen

Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!

Moth

There are 250,000 different species!

Mouse

Found on every continent on Earth!

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

Pheasant

Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Possum

There are 69 species on the Australian continent!

Quail

Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!

Rat

Omnivores that eat anything!

River Turtle

Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!

Robin

There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!

Rodents

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.

Scorpion

There are around 2,000 known species!

Sea Dragon

Inhabits tropical coastal waters of Australia!

Seahorse

Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Sheep

Around 35 million in the English countryside!

Shrimp

There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snake

There are around 3,000 known species worldwide

Sparrow

There are 140 different species!

Stick Insect

There are more than 3,000 different species!

Striped Rocket Frog

Long powerful hind legs!

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

Termite

Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!

Tortoise

Can live until they are more than 150 years old!

Wasp

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.

Woodlouse

Actually a crustacean, not an insect!

New Caledonian Animals List

Animals in New Caledonia 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.