While New Zealand is home to many animal species found nowhere else in the world, they are usually benign and unlikely to bother humans. New Zealand has no snakes, only two species of dangerous spiders, and no native mammals at all, aside from a few species of bat. However, one bird species native to New Zealand can pose a bit of a risk -- not to humans, but to their vehicles.
In the mountainous regions of the South Island of New Zealand lives the kea, the only alpine parrot species in the world. Like other parrot species, the kea is intelligent, curious, and relatively unafraid of humans. However, unlike other parrot species, keas seem to enjoy ripping away parts from parked cars and will destroy almost anything else left unsupervised in their vicinity. As they live in areas frequented by skiers and tourists, many people have encountered the kea and ended up losing their windscreen wipers as a result.
More About New Zealand's keas:
- Keas were once widely hunted because of their unfortunate tendency to go after sheep as a food source. However, after a close brush with extinction, the birds are now a protected species in New Zealand.
- Keas are a dull green color everywhere except the undersides of their wings, which are lined with bright orange feathers.
- While it is difficult to decisively measure the kea population, in 2014 it was believed that there were just 1,000 to 4,000 keas.