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.