Did you know we have a Kids' Activities page on Pest Detective?
There are currently two activity sheets and three posters. The 'Wanted! Pesky Pests' poster shows a line-up of all 30 pest animal species featured on our Culprits page.
The other two posters show drawings of the footprints that pests with paws make and footprints made by bird pests.
The small size of baby animal sign can be misleading, as in a recent case of mystery droppings.
Jeff Mason, of Wellington, noticed two groups of small droppings in his garage but could find no sign of either an animal or insect. He contacted Pest Detective asking for help to identify what he described as “1-2 mm ball bearing-shaped black droppings.”
This summer, biosecurity staff on pest-free Ahuahu-Great Mercury Island (GMI) were alarmed to find a dropping that looked suspiciously like that of a Norway rat. Worryingly, three more were found in the following month.
Yet, further investigation failed to confirm that a rat had invaded. If not a rat, then what could it be?
Canada geese are one of the more detectable pest animals in New Zealand.
Even when out of sight, their honking call is distinctive.
The birds themselves are a common sight in many parts of the country, as they feed during daylight in open areas. In comparison, many of our other pest species are much less visible, being nocturnal, well camouflaged and/or secretive in their behaviour.
Canada geese are easily recognised for their large size. Adults measure 850 to 950 mm in beak-to-tail length.
Bark damage is often a clearly visible animal pest sign but identifying the culprit is not always easy – as Roger Young found at his property on the outskirts of Christchurch.
After returning from holiday earlier this year, Roger was dismayed to see a lot of damage on some lowland ribbonwood (Plagianthus regius) trees in his restored wetland. He at first suspected possums because they had repeatedly stripped bark from gum trees elsewhere on his property and he had trapped a good many in that area. Normally, he would have been checking his property daily and would have noticed the damage before it became so extensive.
It’s breeding season for rooks, which means it is more likely you will see this unwanted organism. If you do, report your sightings to the local regional council but don’t go near the birds.
Rooks are intelligent and extremely wary of anything new or unusual. If they become suspicious, they will move to a new location, which can impede ongoing efforts to eradicate the species in New Zealand.