Australian Dingo

(Canis lupus dingo)



The Dingo is a placental mammal which means it gives birth to live young, feeds its young via mammary glands that produce milk and has fur or hair of some form. The color of a Dingo’s coat is largely determined by where it lives. The ‘standard’ coat color is ginger with white feet. However, in the desert areas, the fur is more golden yellow while in forested areas the fur can be a darker tan to black. The body fur is short while the tail is quite bushy. Although they appear similar to domestic dogs, there are many differences between the two. The dingo is more agile with flexible joints such as rotational wrists, flexible neck and the ability to jump, climb and dig very well making them the ultimate escape artists in captivity. Their canines are longer and sharper than that of a domestic dog to suit their wild, carnivorous diet.

Dingoes are opportunistic carnivores. Mammals form the main part of their diet especially rabbits, kangaroos, wallabies and wombats. When native species are scarce they are known to hunt domestic animals and farm livestock. Scavenging at night, the Dingo is a solitary hunter but will form larger packs when hunting bigger game.

Dingoes communicate through a series of vocalizations including howls, growls, chortles, yelps, whines, chatters, snorts and purrs. Body language is also used as a main form of communication using movements in the ears, eyes, mouth, tail and head to interact with one another.

Once believed to have been introduced to Australia by Indonesian seafarers some 4000 years ago, modern archaeological evidence now indicates that the Australian Dingo’s origins are in fact far older than originally supposed. Mitochondrial DNA data collected by scientists from The Royal Society indicates that the dingo has occupied Australia for over 18,000 years, having migrated naturally from central Asia across land bridges that joined the land masses of Australasia during the last ice age. As a highly adaptable animal, the dingo spread to all areas of Australia except Tasmania. Their habitat was vast and expansive, including alpine, woodland, grassland, coastal, desert and tropical regions of Australia.

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