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Auckland Zoo

Our Animals

Home to 138 different species and over 875 animals, Auckland Zoo has the largest collection of native and exotic animals in New Zealand. Find out more about the animals that live here.

Female wētā punga are larger than the males. Most female wētā punga reach a weight of 35 grams - heavier than your average house sparrow

 Wētā punga

Scientific Name:

Deinacrida heteracantha

Conservation Status:


General Information:

There are over 70 species of wētā unique to New Zealand, including 11 species of giant wētā, of which the wētā punga is the largest. Wētā punga feed on fresh leaves and prefer native plants with large leaves such as karaka, karamu, mamangi, mahoe and kohekohe.


Wētā punga are nocturnal and live in trees. They hide during the day and are well camouflaged under foliage such as dead hanging silver fern fronds. They come out at night to feed on tree leaves. Before the arrival of pests such as rats and stoats, wētā punga lived throughout Northland, Auckland, on Great Barrier and other islands in the Hauraki Gulf.


Having achieved adulthood in 18-24 months, wētā punga commence breeding one to two months after maturity. The females will lay eggs throughout their life, generally producing between 100 and 300 cigar-shaped eggs. Wētā punga live for nine months after reaching maturity.

Some facts about ours:

You can find our wētā punga in The Night, in Te Wao Nui, or meet them up-close on a behind-the-scenes New Zealand Experience.

​behind the scenes experiences

Auckland Zoo

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