New Zealand Animals

A percentage of New Zealand animals are only found in or around New Zealand. The only native mammals are bats and some marine mammals but there are plenty of native birds, lizards, frogs, fish, and insects to be seen.

Many of the New Zealand animals have retained their original forms from ancient times. There is a frog that has live young and are crickets without wings (Weta), an alternative to mice, that forages on the forest floor.

The reptiles and frogs animal group (herpetofauna) includes the tuatara, lizards such as skinks and geckos, and the four species of native frog (pepeketua) classified within this group.

The sea around the islands has a diverse and rich variety of marine mammals, a lot of the larger ones are often visible from the coast, such as dolphins, porpoises and whales.

Examples that are unique to the NZ waters are Hector's Dolphins, Māui Dolphins, Beaked Whales, and New Zealand Sea Lions and fur seals. Some other seals that are occasional visitors to the shores include the Southern Elephant Seal and Leopard Seal.

Hector's Dolphin at
Porpoise Bay, Southland
Hector's Dolphin in New Zealand

Those species of whales and seals that almost resulted in extinction by commercial whaling and sealing over the last two centuries were the indigenous seals and the Humpback and Right Whales.

Even though commercial whaling does not now pose such a significant threat to the welfare of these New Zealand animals, present day threats to the population include global climate change, habitat degradation, and fishing operations through the accumulation of pollutants in the seas and entanglement in fishing nets/gear.

There are over 60 species of sharks in the oceans around NZ with sizes ranging from the 12mtr long Whale Shark to the tiny 27cm long Pigmy Shark.

New Zealand animals includes 35 native species of fish although most people wouldn't know more than a couple of them to name. Being imported, the trout is not among the native species of fish.

The only truly land mammals native to NZ are three species of bats: the Long-tailed Bat, the Greater Short-tailed Bat, and the Lesser Short-tailed Bat. All these species are under threat of extinction due to decline in population and are a high priority for conservation efforts. However, unfortunately the Greater Short-tailed Bat is thought to actually be extinct already.

There is a population of invertebrates that play a vital role in maintenance of populations of native birds and ecosystem processes. Unfortunately many New Zealand invertebrates face extinction in the same way that the New Zealand native birds are under threat.

This list provided below is in no way to be considered exhaustive but it provides a selection of wildlife you may catch a glimpse of during your visit. Some you are more likely to see than others, and the Kiwi which you will only be able to see in a controlled and protected environment.

Weka New Zealand South Island

Seal New Zealand Sealife

Skink New Zealand Wildlife

Seal New Zealand Animal

Weka with Young in South Island New Zealand

Big bird outside International Airport Hotel Auckland

Albatross

Basking Shark

Bellbird (Korimako)

Black Robin

Black Stilt (Kaki)

Black Swan

Bluebottle Jellyfish

Blue Duck (Whio)

Blue Whale

Bottlenose Dolphin

Common Dolphin

Dinornis (Moa)

Duck (Blue Duck) (Whio)

Dusky Dolphin

Fin Whale

Gecko

Greater Short-tailed Bat

Hector's Dolphins - Porpoise Bay

Humpback Whale

Jellyfish (Bluebottle Jellyfish)

Kauri Snail

Kea

Kererū

Killer Whale / Orca

Kiwi

Lesser Short-tailed Bat

Long-tailed Bat

Māui Dolphin

Moa (Dinornis)

New Zealand Dotterel

New Zealand Sea Lions

Oystercatcher (Variable Oystercatcher)

Penguin (Blue)

Penguin (Yellow-eyed Penguin hoiho) Porpoise Bay

Pigmy Shark

Pilot Whale

Portuguese Man o War (Bluebottle Jellyfish)

Powelliphanta snail

Right Whale

Skink

Sperm Whale

Stoat

Swan (Black Swan)

Torea (Variable Oystercatcher)

Tuatara

Variable Oystercatcher

Weta

Whale (Blue Whale)

Whale (Fin Whale)

Whale (Humpback Whale)

Whale (Killer/Orca)

Whale Shark

Whale (Pilot)

Whale (Sperm Whale)

Whio (Blue Duck)

White Shark

Yellow-eyed Penguin (Hoiho) - Porpoise Bay

Predatory mammals did not exist here before humans and their arrival had a devastating effect on many of the bird population because they are flightless and easily caught!

See New Zealand Birds.

Parks and Conservation

Maungatautari Ecological Island

Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife

Orana Wildlife Park

Otorohanga Native Bird Park

Staglands Wildlife

Marlborough Sounds Wildlife Recovery

Kiwi Birdlife Park

Other Sites of Interest

Mount Tutu Eco- Sanctuary is a secluded sanctuary in a New Zealand rainforest!