New Zealand’s wildlife is beautiful and unique, but there’s also some weird and wonderful facts you need to know.
To celebrate World Wildlife Day (3 March), we delved into the world of New Zealand’s native creatures, and we learnt some interesting things. Here’s our top 10 picks of the intriguing facts about New Zealand’s wildlife.
- Kererū gorge themselves on fruit and end up getting drunk. When they’re in this state they’re known to fall from branches of trees.
- New Zealand’s native frogs don’t have a tadpole stage. There are four New Zealand native frogs: Archey’s frog, Hamilton’s frog, Hochstetter’s frog and Maud Island frog and all of them hatch from an egg as almost fully formed frogs.
- Our Blue Whale is known to be the largest animal in the world!
- And at the other end of the scale, New Zealand’s Little Blue Penguin is known to be the world’s smallest penguin, measuring just 25cm in height! Cute!
- Speaking of itty-bitty creatures, we’ve got the world’s smallest dolphin as well. The wee Hector’s dolphin measures in at around 1.4m in length!
- Our tuatara is the only living reptile species from when dinosaurs roamed the planet. They’re also New Zealand’s largest reptile with some of the adult males growing to be about half a metre in length.
- New Zealand’s kea is the only alpine parrot in the world. Kea are also monogamous birds who bond and partner up with another kea long term.
- The kārearea (New Zealand falcon) can fly at more than 100km/h!
- Pīwakawaka have a very interesting fan-like tail (hence their english name being fantail). They use their tails to quickly change direction when they are hunting insects. They’re also incredibly curious birds that will fly around you and accompany you very lengthy periods of time on your strolls through the park.
- Ruru (morepork) can turn their head through 270 degrees!
Considering New Zealand was free of cats, rats and rodents, New Zealand’s wildlife has always been unique, with many floor-dwelling birds. We’ve got a very special list of native wildlife, but we have a long way to go until many are no longer endangered. If you’d like to see many of our native birds and creatures, head along to a nature reserve or sanctuary near you. Here’s just a handful to consider:
- Tiritiri Matangi Open Sanctuary (Auckland)
- Zealandia Eco-Sanctuary (Wellington)
- Cape Sanctuary (Hawke’s Bay)
- Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari (Cambridge)
- Pukaha National Wildlife Centre (Wairarapa)
- Shakespear Regional Park (Whangaparaoa)
- Rainbow Springs Nature Park (Rotorua)
- Tawharanui Regional Park (Auckland)
- Kapiti Island Nature Reserve (Wellington)
- Moturua Island Scenic Reserve (Northland)
- Great Barrier Island
- Little Barrier Island
- Orokonui Ecosanctuary (Otago)
- Ulva Island (Stewart Island)