New Zealand

Updated: January 1, 2023
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Below you can find a complete list of New Zealand animals. We currently track 177 animals in New Zealand and are adding more every day!

New Zealand is a country in Oceania made up of two large islands and several smaller islands. New Zealand has a widely diverse topography and a temperate maritime climate. Due to millions of years of isolation in New Zealand’s past, there are many unique types of flora and fauna native to the islands. Along with unique native species, New Zealand is also home to many exotic types of animal species. Originally, New Zealand had very few predator mammals, leading to the increased evolution of flightless birds.

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The Official National (state) Animal of New Zealand

The national animal and the national bird of New Zealand is the native kiwi bird. This loveable, flightless bird is so strongly associated with New Zealand that the term “kiwi” is often used to refer to the native people of the country. Kiwis are considered vulnerable in terms of conservation due to the invasion of non-native predator mammals as well as deforestation.

Where To Find The Top Wild Animals

The top animal in New Zealand is undoubtedly the national kiwi bird. Kiwis are very shy and elusive and are mainly found in forests during nocturnal hours. Another top animal is the lesser short-tailed bat. This bat is the only native land mammal in the country. It’s considered endangered and difficult to see outside of zoos. Many of New Zealand’s common animals can be found in the waters surrounding the country. These include the following:

Native Birds

New Zealand holds some of the most unique environments and species in the world, secluded as an island country. Birds of the country are especially of note. In fact, New Zealand is so fond of their avifauna that an annual Bird of the Year contest is held every October and is widely debated on platforms such as Twitter. Many parts of the island are home to special birds, some of these being choice spots to bird watch:

  • Northland – Home of Project Island Song, a sanctuary using native tree planting, biosecurity measures, and species protection to bring native birdsong back to the country. PIS has successfully reintroduced native species to seven of the main islands. Kiwis are a popular bird to spot here at night.
  • Auckland – Tiritiri Mātangi is a predator-free, forested island accessible by an hour-long ferry ride from Auckland. Around 300,000 native trees shelter many native wildlife species, including several unique bird species. The rare tākahē may be spotted by lucky visitors. North of Auckland lies the sanctuary of Tāwharanui Regional Park. More than 90 species of endangered bird including the North Island robin, tākahē, pāteke (brown teal), kākāriki, tīeke, korimako (bellbird), and North Island brown kiwi.
  • Waikato – Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari lies in this district, a fenced-in ecological “island” teeming with native flora and fauna, including impressive bird watching.

Named are only a few of the many places in the islands to visit for excellent birding. New Zealanders are highly protective of their distinctive avifauna, fiercely advocating for preservation of habitat and the birds’ well-being.

Native Fish

Hiking, cricket, and photography are all popular hobbies in New Zealand, along with fishing. Surrounded by almost 10,000 miles of coastline, the country is a hotspot for sea fishing. Lakes and rivers also prove draw in freshwater fisherman, especially those looking for trout.

Charters from the Bay of Plenty and Northland are available from December to June, big game fishing season. Commonly sought species include:

  • Marlin
  • Billfish
  • Yellowfin tuna” data-wpil-keyword-link=”linked” data-old-href=”” data-lasso-id=”85799″>Yellowfin tuna
  • Kingfish
  • Snapper (a prize for fishermen here)

Ocean fishing is not the only type of fishing in the country, however. Fly fishing and other freshwater fishing is available in the lakes and rivers of New Zealand. Trout is a particularly popular catch, especially prevalent in Lake Taupo. Here are some common freshwater finds:

  • Rainbow trout
  • Brown trout
  • Salmon

Native Snakes

Quite the paradise for avid nature-lovers, New Zealand’s many unique species actually exclude snakes. There are no land snakes present in the island country, giving visitors one less creepy crawly to worry about. Occasionally yellow-bellied sea snakes and sea kraits are spotted in the surrounding oceans but these are rare sightings.

The Most Dangerous Animals

There are over 70,000 species of flora and fauna. Some of these species are dangerous to humans. Sharks are probably the most dangerous animal in New Zealand as several species roam the waters, including the great white and oceanic whitetip. New Zealand also has a few venomous spider species, including the Katipo spider, redback spider, and white-tailed spider. The latter spider species is also the most common, which makes it more likely that it will encounter and bite humans. Fortunately, it’s not as venomous as the other two spiders.

Endangered Animals

There are a number of endangered animals in New Zealand. The fairy tern has a remaining population of between 30 and 40 animals. It’s threatened by a loss of habitat as well as predation by cats and dogs. The flightless kakapo parrot has only 124 animals left in the wild and is endangered for the same reasons as the fairy tern. The Maui dolphin is a subspecies of Hector’s dolphin, but it’s very endangered with only about 55 animals left. Gill nets and trawling nets are mainly to blame for the dolphin’s destruction. Other endangered animals include the following:

Native and Unique Wildlife To New Zealand

As a relatively isolated area, this country is home to many types of flora and fauna that are completely unique to it. The kiwi is one of these unique natives. Another unique native animal is the kea. The kea is the only alpine species of parrot in the world. They can be found in Arthur’s Pass National Park and Fiordland National Park. They’re known for eating nearly anything, including rubber parts on cars. Another unique animal native to New Zealand is the chevron skink. Its claim to fame is that it’s the island’s longest lizard.

Extinct New Zealand Wildlife

Many animals have become extinct in New Zealand over the years. One is the Haast’s eagle, which died out after humans hunted the moa (the eagle’s main prey) to extinction. This eagle was the largest known eagle to have once existed, and it weighed about 33 pounds. Other extinct New Zealand animals include the following:

  • South Island goose
  • Greater short-tailed bat
  • Grayling
  • Kawekaweau gecko

Zoos in New Zealand

Looking at New Zealand wildlife in their natural habitat is always ideal, however, several particular zoos of the country are home to exceptional exhibits and opportunities to see native and exotic species and learn more about the preservation of these important species.

  • Willowbank Wildlife Reserve – Dedicated to maintaining animals’ natural environments, there is no glass for viewing animals. Visitors are able to get up close and personal to kiwi, kea, and tuatara.
  • Auckland Zoo – One of the main attractions of the city, this zoo is home to 135 species of wildlife, including African mammals, reptiles, and avifauna. The zoo has a veterinary hospital for treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation of injured wildlife.
  • Orana Wildlife Park – Known around the world for its wildlife breeding program for native and exotic species, Orana sits on 197 acres of land and houses over 400 animals. The aviaries and herpetarium are specifically popular.

New Zealand puts strong effort into protecting its native species and in conservation in general. The country’s zoos reflect this goal, contributing to rehabilitation, repopulation, and reintroduction of wild animals.

New Zealand Animals


The largest wingspan of any bird in the world!

Angora Goat

Each adult Angora goat produces about 12 inches of mohair annually while kids have about 8 inches.


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


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.

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants can lift up to seven times their own weight with their teeth!

Cashmere Goat

Cashmere goat are named after Kashmir regions of India and Pakistan


First domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians!


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!

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 Penguin

Has long yellow eyebrows!


Male crickets can produce sounds by rubbing their wings together


Have changed little in 200 million years!

Diamondback Moth

Adult males make high amplitude boing noise to attract females


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


Both male and female dunnocks can have multiple mates every breeding season

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!

Elephant Fish

Elephant fish are known as the Australian ghost shark, but they are not actually a shark species!

English Longhorn Cattle

Although they look similar to the Texas Longhorn, they are not closely related.


A very bold and ferocious predator!

European Starling

European starlings are accomplished mimics, often copying songs or sounds of other birds and animals (frog calls, goats, cats), or even mechanical sounds and human speech!


The fastest creatures on the planet!

Fallow deer

The fallow deer has more variation in its coat colors than most other deer.

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

Galapagos Shark

Galapagos sharks are cannibalistic and sometimes eat their young, so the pups stay away from the adults in shallow water.


There are thought to be over 2,000 species!

German Cockroach

The most common type of urban roach

Giant Trevally

The largest fish in its genus

Giant Weta

They've been around for 190,000,000 years!


Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!


Males form large mating swarms at dusk


There are 11,000 known species!

Gypsy Moth

One of the most invasive species in the world

Haast’s Eagle

The Haast's eagle was the largest eagle to have ever existed.


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!


Has evolved over 50 million years!


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

House Sparrow (English Sparrow)

The house sparrow has been introduced all over the world


The fly has no teeth


Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!


Huntaways have a strong instinct for herding.

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!

John Dory

The John Dory is often labeled one of the ugliest fish in the world and has no known relatives.


The heaviest species of parrot in the world!


This lovable pest may come to you asking for food or attempting to steal your belongings! They are named for their loud vocalizations, “kee-aaa!”

Kiko Goat

Kiko goats breed year-round, and they are not good at defending themselves.


Only found in the forests of New Zealand!


The laughing kookaburra is one of four kookaburra species.


There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Lawnmower Blenny

Must be in temperatures of 78 degrees Fahrenheit to breed


Has 10 pairs of eyes!

Little Penguin

The smallest species of penguin!


There are around 5,000 different species!


Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.


They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!


With an appropriate tail wind, the mallard can travel hundreds of miles a day

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!


Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!

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!


Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!


Only the female mosquito actually sucks blood


There are 250,000 different species!


Found on every continent on Earth!

Muscovy Duck

Unlike most duck species, the Muscovy is silent and only makes noise when excited or threatened.

Myna Bird

For a nice price, the mynah bird makes a good pet.

Neptune Grouper

The largest recorded specimen ever caught was 17" long

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.

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

Pacific Spaghetti Eel

They have excellent eyesight


Can live for up to 100 years!

Perch Fish

Some of the most delicious gamefish in the world

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth


Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!


They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.


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!

Rockhopper Penguin

There are 3 different species!


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.


Male sambars will compete for mates by clashing together with their antlers

Sand Crab

The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail

Savanna Goat

Savanna goats have only existed since 1957.


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

Sea Snake

The sea snake is incredibly venomous, even more than a cobra!”


Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!


There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Skink Lizard

Some skinks lay eggs in some habitats while giving birth to skinklets in other habitats.


They glide around on one foot, which is aided by the slime they produce

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!

Spider Wasp

They prey on spiders to feed their larvae or they parasitize other spider wasps.

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!


The American robin is called the robin because its red breast reminded European settlers of the robin back in the old country.


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

Tiger Trout

As tiger trout are sterile, they cannot produce offspring. However, they do have relatively long lifespans and can live up to 10 years in captivity.


Can live until they are more than 150 years old!


Only found on a few of New Zealand's islands!


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


The albatross is related to the waimanu!


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!

Welsh Black Cattle

Welsh Black Cattle were once used as currency in Wales and referred to as “black gold”.

White Ferret / Albino Ferrets

There are two different types of white ferrets!

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.


This animal can roll up into a ball

Woodlouse Spider

Unlike most spiders, woodlouse spiders don’t build a web.


Doesn’t have eyes.

Yellow-Eyed Penguin

The rarest species of penguin!


It interbreeds with the pine bunting

New Zealand Animals List

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About the Author

Growing up in rural New England on a small scale farm gave me a lifelong passion for animals. I love learning about new wild animal species, habitats, animal evolutions, dogs, cats, and more. I've always been surrounded by pets and believe the best dog and best cat products are important to keeping our animals happy and healthy. It's my mission to help you learn more about wild animals, and how to care for your pets better with carefully reviewed products.

New Zealand FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What kind of animals live in New Zealand?

The most populous animals in New Zealand are birds, marine life and reptiles. New Zealand did not naturally have land predators until humans moved in.

What is the main animal in New Zealand?

The kiwi is the most well-known animal in New Zealand.

Does New Zealand have dangerous animals?

Unlike Australia, New Zealand has very few dangerous animals.