Ten Surprising Facts About the Wildlife of New Zealand
New Zealand’s Wildlife has a lot to Teach us.
So it’s not just sheep in New Zealand… If you want to learn about the evolution of animals on a remote group of South Pacific islands, then backpacking through New Zealand is the perfect place to start.
You can learn about New Zealand’s fascinating wildlife, which consists mostly of birds, reptiles, insects, and marine creatures, at museums, wildlife sanctuaries, and conservation centres.
Because of the lack of land predators aside from raptors, New Zealand’s bird population has developed into a hybrid of flightless and melodious species. When hiking in New Zealand’s forests, you could find that many birds are more than happy to pose for photos with you because they don’t perceive you as a threat.
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There are also reptiles to be found in New Zealand’s natural world. Geckos and the tuatara, dubbed the “living fossil” or the “living dinosaur,” are among the more secretive reptile species. Dolphins and whales are common sights during boat rides in the ocean. Seals, eels, and stingrays abound in the waters off the coast of New Zealand.
1: There is Only one Species of Native Land Mammal in New Zealand.
New Zealand’s only native land mammal is the long-tailed and short-tailed bat. Land wildlife in New Zealand is dominated by birds and reptiles.
As a result, native New Zealand species is threatened by invasive land mammals such as the rabbit and other rabbit-like creatures as well as the likes of the stoat and possum. Bats of both species eat mostly on the abundance of New Zealand bugs.
2: New Zealand has Six Distinct Species of Penguins.
New Zealand is home to six of the world’s 17 species of penguin. Little blue penguins, yellow-eyed and Fiordland-crested penguins are the most often sighted species in New Zealand.
Take a wildlife-spotting excursion to boost your chances of viewing wild penguins in a non-intrusive manner. New Zealand’s 8 Best Penguin Viewing Spots outlines the best spots in the country to watch the creatures.
3: The world Heaviest Insect Lives in New Zealand.
New Zealand Bugs are notorious for their irrationality. The world’s heaviest insect is the giant weta. It weighs more than a sparrow, according to records. Wetas can be found in New Zealand’s caves and woods.
There are 70 varieties of weta. Walking through the forest at night is the greatest time to spot them.
4: No Dangerous Animals Can Be Found in New Zealand
There are no predatory creatures in New Zealand, unlike in its neighbouring country, Australia.
The white-tailed spider, the redback spider, and the katipo spider are the only three varieties of New Zealand fauna that can damage you if they bite you (which is extremely unusual).
5: But Kea Will Dismantle Your Automobile.
One of the most intelligent native parrots in the world, the kea is known for pulling rubber seals from cars and windscreen wipers to pieces.
Because they are the only known species of alpine parrot in the world, the South Island’s mountains are likely to be home to these curious birds. On the way to Milford Sound and Arthur’s Pass, they’re common sights.
6: New Zealand does not have Land Snakes.
As far as wildlife inquiries go, “Are there snakes in New Zealand?” is one of the most frequently asked. Unlike Australia, New Zealand doesn’t have any land snakes! Yellow-bellied sea snakes and kraits, on the other hand, are sporadic visitors to New Zealand’s oceans.
The Department of Conservation website has further information on these two species. On the other side, New Zealand does contain a variety of lizards!
7: There is a Carnivorous Snail in the South Island.
In terms of size, the powelliphanta snail is the world’s largest carnivorous snail. As previously said, New Zealand is devoid of dangerous wildlife, but the existence of a flesh-eating snail is noteworthy nonetheless.
This worm-eating creature can grow to be the size of a man’s hand. Only worms and New Zealand bugs are at risk, not humans. Haast and Fiordland National Parks in New Zealand’s South Island are good places to look for them.
8: Giant Birds Formerly Roamed New Zealand.
It is estimated that the moa weighed over 230 kilogrammes, making it one of the largest birds in the world (507lbs).
Because they were so easy to catch and eat, they quickly became extinct when humans first arrived in New Zealand. It is possible to get a sense of the enormous size of moas by looking at their bones and skeletons in various museums across the state.
9: As Living Descendants of the Dinosaurs, Tuatara have the Unique Ability to See with their “Third Eye.”
The order Rhynchocephalia, from which the tuatara, a New Zealand native lizard, descends, flourished approximately 200 million years ago. Due to the fact that they maintain many traits of species that were extant during the time of the dinosaurs, they are frequently called as “living fossils”.
On top of its head, the Tuatara has a third eye known as a parietal eye, which helps it see better in low light. Throughout New Zealand, tuataras are being bred in wildlife reserves and in captivity. There are many notable Tuataras, but Henry is the most well-known. The Southland Museum houses Henry.
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10: Kiwi Birds can Hold Eggs the Size of their Bodies (20% of their Total Weight) and have a Keen Sense of Smell.
New Zealand’s national symbol, the kiwi bird, has a plethora of fascinating information about it. Female kiwi lay one of the world’s largest eggs in relation to their body size, among other interesting facts.
It’s also the only bird with nostrils on the end of its bill that can detect insects on the ground.