Animals in New Zealand



Below you can find a complete list of New Zealand animals. We currently track 117 animals in New Zealand and are adding more every day!

New Zealand is a country in Oceania that is 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 types of widespread animal species. Originally, New Zealand had very few predator mammals, which led to the increased evolution of flightless birds.

The Official National (state) Animal of New Zealand

The national animal is the native kiwi bird. This cute, flightless bird is so strongly associated with New Zealand that the term kiwi is often used to refer to people who are natives. 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 in New Zealand

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 top animals can be found in the waters surrounding the country. These include the following:

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

Cute Animals and Mammals

This country is home to many cute animals, including the popular kiwi bird. The kakapo is also considered one of the favorite cute animals in New Zealand. The flightless parrot has an owl-like face with whiskers around its beak. It can also be quite chubby, which adds to its cuteness. Kakapos are unique in that they live an average of 90 years.

Venomous Animals In New Zealand

Unlike Australia, New Zealand doesn’t have any species of deadly animals and very few examples of poisonous wildlife. The great white shark is a potentially deadly animal, but deadly attacks in New Zealand are rare. The katipo is the sole poisonous animal in New Zealand, and it’s hard to find. It’s a nocturnal spider with a poisonous bite, but there is no real evidence that anyone has died from a katipo bite in the last century.

Nocturnal Wildlife in New Zealand

There are many nocturnal animals in New Zealand, including the kiwi, the kakapo, bats, frogs, skinks, and geckos. New Zealand’s spider and insect species like cockroaches and mosquitos are also largely active at night. Along with native nocturnal animals, there are many non-native nocturnal species like rats, stoats, possums, and cats. Unfortunately, these animals do a lot of damage to the native animals in New Zealand.

New Zealand Animals

Albatross

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.

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!

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.

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

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!

Common House Spider

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

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!

Ermine

A very bold and ferocious predator!

Falcon

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

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!

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!

Huntaway

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.

Ibis

Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Kakapo

The heaviest species of parrot in the world!

Kiko Goat

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

Kiwi

Only found in the forests of New Zealand!

Kookaburra

The laughing kookaburra is one of four kookaburra species.

Ladybug

There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!

Little Penguin

The smallest species of penguin!

Lizard

There are around 5,000 different species!

Locust

Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.

Magpie

They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

Mallard

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

Marine Toad

Produces a toxin used in arrow darts!

Mayfly

There are 2,500 known species worldwide!

Mealybug

They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.

Millipede

Some species have a poisonous bite!

Mole

Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!

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!

Moorhen

Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!

Moth

There are 250,000 different species!

Mouse

Found on every continent on Earth!

Myna Bird

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

No See Ums

There are more than 5,000 species.

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males

Otter

There are 13 different species worldwide

Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth

Pheasant

Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!

Pigeon

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

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!

Rockhopper Penguin

There are 3 different species!

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.

Savanna Goat

Savanna goats have only existed since 1957.

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!

Shrimp

There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Skink Lizard

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

Slug

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

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snake

There are around 3,000 known species worldwide

Sparrow

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!

Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.

Termite

Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!

Thrush

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

Tiger Beetle

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

Tortoise

Can live until they are more than 150 years old!

Tuatara

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

Turtles

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

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

This animal can roll up into a ball

Woodlouse Spider

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

Yellow-Eyed Penguin

The rarest species of penguin!

New Zealand Animals List

Animals in 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.