Did you know?
- There are over 70 species of wētā, 16 of which are classified by scientists as ‘at risk’
- Giant wētā are one of the largest insects in the world, and can weigh more than a mouse!
- You won’t find giant wētā in your garden though – they're only on off-shore islands and protected areas.
Wētā are one of New Zealand’s most recognisable insects and can be found in a range of habitats all over the country.
As they only come out at night, wētā spend their days lazing inside their ‘burrows’, inside rotting logs, under rocks, and occasionally in gumboots! Some burrows provide more protection than others, which is important as animals such as rats, cats, birds, and hedgehogs will all eat a sleeping weta.
Building a wētā motel protects the native insects and provides a dry place for them to snooze the day away.
What you will need
- A small log (willow or aged pine is ideal)
- A drill (with a bit sized 10 – 18mm)
- A hammer
- Some nails
- A saw
- A ‘roof’ (this could be corrugated iron, corflute, or anything you have around home to keep the water out!)
Steps to building your wētā motel
Image: Cameron Hayes | DOC
Explore your back yard! You may have wētā there already. This will help you choose a motel location and see what kinds of wētā are present.
Saw your small log in half length-ways.
Chisel out a gallery from one side of the log’s interior. This will be your motel room!
Drill a hole from the room to the outside of the log. This is your entranceway.
Nail or bind the log back together, and then nail on your roof.
All built, now go find a good spot for it. You want it at about eye level, so try hanging it or tying it to a tree. You are making a difference by keeping these native critters out of harm's way!
Become a Kiwi Guardian!
Planting a native tree earns you a medal as part of our Toyota Kiwi Guardians activity programme.