New Zealand fauna is
not vary broad and varied, but it does have some unique
animals to the world such as the Kiwi (pictured above),
which has also now become the name for its national
population – a New Zealander is also known as a Kiwi. The
Kiwi is classified as a bird, but do not fly, they barely
even have wings, and for a long time it was though to be a
mammal. Kiwis have hairs instead of feathers, and developed
thick and ultra strong legs, so they can walk or run through
the vegetation without problems. They are nocturnal animals
and hate the daylight, and almost faced extinction like the
Moa, a bird that looked a bit like a giant Emu, or a giant
Kiwi, and reached up to 3 metres high. The Kiwi does not
have any predators that are mammals, as until its discovery,
mammals did not exist in New Zealand.
main predator of the Kiwi are birds such as eagles and
falcons, but the kiwi ha developed an ability to defend
itself in the closed forests or bush, such as coming out
only at night, which minimises the chances of it being seen
by other animals. With the beginning of the colonisation,
forests were destroyed, and for that reason the kiwi became
more vulnerable to attack of predators, which almost saw the
kiwi go into extinction. The kiwis don’t defend themselves
with their beaks, but instead use their super sharp claws. Kiwis are aggressive animals, and you would not be able to
hold one in your hand without receiving some deep cuts. In
the forest the Kiwi is very protective of its territory, so
much so that they might even chase try to chase a human
away, they come running and screaming like a steam train.
There are 5 different species of Kiwis. The Kiwi has become
a national symbol and can be found on both the north and
one of the small numbers of land mammals that live in New
Zealand. They were introduced by the Polynesians, who
brought them as a source of food for the long journeys, but
they have now turned into pests as they have no natural
predators. They are a real nuisance to farmers as they eat
crops and cause great damage. It came to such a critical
point that the New Zealand government paid $1 for every
possum that someone killed. Even shops began to produced and
promote possum fur products such sweaters, bags, hats. While
in NZ the possum is seen as a pest, in Australia they are
protected, but Australia has many predators such as snakes,
which are not found in NZ.
is another animal that is only found in New Zealand. It’s
a reptile, a descendent of the dinosaur age from 225 million
years ago, and for this reason it is sometimes consider a
“living fossil”. They are protected creatures and run
the risk of extinction as there are only an estimated 100
thousand left in existence. They are very vulnerable to
predators, one of them being one from their own specie,
where the male will eat the eggs and even the offspring.
They are also attacked by birds and other predators, and
reproduce at a slow rate, where the deaths out number the
birth. They are cold blooded creatures and live up to around
100 years. Their favourite meal are insects.
Animals found in New Zealand:
Kea is New Zealand’s mountain parrot and lives in
the alpine environment, mostly found in the South
Island. They are very controversial birds where they
are considered mostly vegetarian, feasting
occasionally on insects but having a flexibility of
diet that extend to even live sheep, and can also be
seen ripping into the rubber of car windscreen and
doors and ski field equipment. They have been a
protected species since 1986, but only after they
investigated all attacks on sheep and removed all
problem birds. Ski field operators were encouraged
to make their equipment proof against the kea’s
very power beak.
The population is estimated to be of between
1000 and 5000 birds. It is considered one of the
most intelligent birds in the world.
are found on islands off the coast of New Zealand,
and can be seen in around 28 different colonies.
Some of these colonies can be visited such as the
one at Hawk’s Bay. They make their nest out of sea
weed and have an great diving ability for
from Antarctica, they travel to NZ as well as the
coast of South America. In New Zealand the only
inhabit the south Island, and can mostly be found
from Invercargill to Christchurch. An adult penguin
can reach up to 68 cm, weighing around 5 to 8 kilos.
fur Seal is a type of seal that can dive deeper and
stay underwater for longer than the normal seal.
They inhabit the whole coast of NZ and have an
estimated population of 60 thousand. The adult male
can reach up to 1.60m and weigh up to 160 kilos.
They feed on fish and crustaceans, with its main
predator being the shark and killer whales.
Bottlenose Dolphin is found through out the waters
of New Zealand, but live in separate groups 1000 km
apart. They are very playful and curious, and can reach up to 4
metres in length, weigh 550 kilos, and consume more
than 15 kilos of fish per day. There is several tour
groups make visits to colonies, and with some you
can even swim with them. They are mammals and can
live up to around 40 to 50 years.
Sperm Wale inhabit the deep oceans of the South
Island, and can be seen especially off the coast of
Kiakoura, where you can take a whale sighting tour.
They can reach up to 20 mentres in length and weigh
up tp 70 tons. They have as their biggest predators
the killer whale, sharks, and the giant squid. They
live up to 60 years and can give birth to a calf
every 15 months. They
can dive up to 3km deep.
Learn more about the birds found in New Zealand,
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