10 most-read articles of all time

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7 surprising facts you should know about possums

At one point, possums in New Zealand rivalled the sheep population.

Brought into New Zealand to start a fur trade in 1837, the brushtail possum population exploded beyond settlers’ wildest dreams (or nightmares) to an estimated peak of 70 million possums in the 1980s, same as sheep. It has taken us more than a hundred years to understand the gravity of the damage they do to our environment. 

Possum with the number 1 overlaid
Possums may be reluctant to cross rivers. Image credit: Greg Schechter (via Wikimedia Commons)

Troubleshooting tips: What to do when your rat trap isn’t catching any rats

We’ve pulled together some tips to make your trap more effective. Get to know your rats, pre-feeding, moving your trap around – all the tips you need to get more results with your trapping.

Rat in the bush with the number 2 overlaid
Norway rat. Image credit: Ngā Manu

7 surprising facts about hedgehogs

Hedgehogs were first introduced in New Zealand in the 1870s to make British settlers feel more at home. Now, 150 years later, the impact hedgehogs have on our native species is only just being understood. 

Hedgehog sniffing a tree with the number 3 overlaid.
Cameras were particularly effective in monitoring hedgehogs and mice. Image credit: Hrald (via Wikimedia Commons)

Give your birdlife a boost and create a possum nightclub

A possum nightclub might sound like a conservation nightmare, but it’s a great way to give your birdlife a helping hand.

Possums breed in March and April and again in September and October. During this time, they’re really promiscuous and are out socialising and moving around a lot.

Cam Speedy talking to a group with the number 4 overlaid
Cam Speedy is a predator control expert with years of experience under his belt. Image credit: PFNZ

Better baits and better trapping

Peanut butter has long been used as a bait for rat traps. Possums have a fondness for the scent of cinnamon.

But are they the all-time favourite foods of rats and possums? Researchers at Victoria University of Wellington used chew cards to check out what really tickles the tastebuds of two of our more common urban pest species. Home trappers might like to give these food lures a go too…

Smearing of peanut butter with a number 5 overlaid
Peanut butter is a common lure. Image credit: Karolina Grabowaska

Stoat research is not for the squeamish

When Jamie McAulay opens his mail in the morning, he often finds “a lovely, delightful, maggoty mess!”

Jamie is a Master’s student in the University of Otago’s Zoology Department and lately conservation volunteers and professional trappers from Nelson to Fiordland have been posting him their dead stoats.

Stoat in an field with the number 6 overlaid
Stoat. Image credit: PFNZ

PekaPeka bird feeder is a winner for its Dunedin designers

Harvey Penfold is a product design student and Tahu Mackenzie is a Education Officer at Orokonui Ecosanctuary just north of Dunedin, and together they’ve designed an innovative bird-feeder.

The PekaPeka was designed and tested as part of a Citizen Science project that is ongoing in their Northeast Valley community.

Tui feeding from a Pekapeka bird feeder with a number 7 overlaid
Pekapeka bird feeder. Image credit: PFNZ

How well do we really know our kiwi?

Not everyone can tell a mohua from a yellowhammer or even a kea from a kākā, but it would be a pretty rare New Zealander who didn’t know a kiwi when they saw one.

It’s probably our most recognisable bird, but how well do we actually know our kiwi – really know them?

Kiwi foraging with a number 8 overlaid
Little spotted kiwi. Image credit: Kimberley Collins (Flickr)

Possums and more possums – is a fur trade the answer?

Possums – those cute Aussie furballs are decimating New Zealand forests – so why don’t we just develop our fur industry and make money from the problem? After all, that’s why they were introduced to New Zealand in the first place.

More rural employment, less possums – the bush grows back and New Zealand’s rural communities grow a new industry. What’s not to like?

Possum up a tree with the number 9 overlaid
Possum. Image credit: Nga Manu

Hot bug summer: 5 cool facts about New Zealand’s cicadas

The cicada chorus can signal the beginning of a long hot summer. From bizarre fungal enemies to world record titles, here are some of the most exciting facts about Aotearoa New Zealand’s cicadas. They’ll be sure to leave you listening to their songs with a new level of curiosity.

Cicada shedding its old skin with the number 10 overlaid
Cicada emerging from nymph shell. Image credit: Wildwind (iNaturalist)