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Spot the slug this summer

Published: 7 December 2023

Rocky Shore Explore

Santa’s making his list and checking it twice, trying to find out who’s naughty and nice and those in Napier will be doing the same in their hunt for ‘naughty and nice’ creatures thanks to the National Aquarium of New Zealand.

Leopard slugs, stoats, and long-tail cuckoos take centre stage as the National Aquarium rolls out their summer holiday activities for families. They’ve partnered with illustrator and author Ned Barraud and publishers Potton & Burton for ‘Hide and Seek’, a range of educational and interactive activities for locals and visitors, both inside and outside the aquarium.

Around Napier, families search for posters that identify introduced and invasive species, spotting them at some of Napier’s popular locations.  It’s part of ‘Hide & Seek around Napier’, a competition where participants can win toys, books, jigsaws and annual membership to the National Aquarium, which runs from 16 December – 18 February.

Amy Stevens, Education Manager at the National Aquarium, is keen to see people of all ages get involved.

"We're excited to bring families together for a journey of discovery. Secrets of the wildlife around us will be unveiled as you’re introduced to the quirky characters shaping our biodiversity,” she says.

“A star of the comp is the beautifully ugly leopard slug. This slug was introduced unintentionally to New Zealand, and they are quite large and spotty just like a slimy leopard! Stoats, originally introduced to control rabbits, are a big threat to our native wildlife, they can swim long distances to reach islands. Another anti-hero is the Asian paddle crab known for its aggression. It competes with native crabs and other species for both habitat and food resources."

‘Hide and Seek around Napier’ is one of many activities the National Aquarium of New Zealand will offer for the summer. There is also a bookable 'Rocky Shore Explore' experience where visitors join the aquarium’s marine experts and encounter a range of marine life. They’ll also use a mobile science lab to test water temperature and salinity and take a closer look at what they’ve discovered while exploring.

More information:

  • ‘Hide & Seek Around Napier’ competition runs 16 December – 31 January
  • Rocky Shore Explore sessions run 27 December – 30 January (book online, $25 per person including afternoon or morning tea)
  • Nature Journal Making sessions run 16 – 23 December in the Education Room at the National Aquarium (book online, $5 per person)
  • Visit National Aquarium of New Zealand website for more information:

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