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Blog

Animal Guide: Dingo

Claire Orrell

Totemica_Australian_Animal_Dingo

Dingo says: take a risk

Dingoes came to Australia many years ago from Asia. The oldest found archeological remains date back around 3,500 years, but they may have been here a lot longer.(i) Some reports state that dingoes are their own species, meaning that they are not descended from dogs or wolves,(ii) however, conflicting statements suggest their origins can be traced back to a south Asian variety of wolf.(iii)

Dingoes are built for hunting, are very adaptable and howl rather than bark. Feeding on mainly wallaby and kangaroo as well as other small animals, they tend to hunt at sunrise and sunset when their prey are the most active. 

They are intelligent, playful and curious and have been valued by Aboriginal people as hunting aides, spiritual and physical protectors and companions. Dingoes are sometimes considered part of society and in particular areas they are thought to be reincarnated ancestor spirits. The significance of the dingo endures as dances, songs and tales based on this creature continue to be performed in ceremony.(iv)

Dingo reminds us to take risks, to be adaptable and to keep our eyes and ears peeled for opportunities that may present themselves.

Totemica_Dingo_Distribution

Habitat and Distribution

You can find dingoes across most of Australia, but not in Tasmania. Dingoes are threatened by habitat loss, cross-breeding with wild domestic dogs and persecution. It is rare to find a pure dingo as 90% of the wild dogs in Australia are cross-bred.(v) 

The dingo has been listed as 'Vulnerable' with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.(vi) They are native animals under Federal law but are still considered a pest by some and sadly people don’t discriminate between a real dingo and a wild dog.


(i) Australian Museum, australianmuseum.net.au/dingo
(ii) Australian National Geographic, www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2014/04/dingo-declared-a-separate-species
(iii) Australian Museum, australianmuseum.net.au/dingo
(iv) AMRRIC, amrric.org/news/dingoes-and-dogs-indigenous-culture
(v) Dingo Conservation, www.dingoconservation.org.au/index.html
(vi) Australian Museum, australianmuseum.net.au/dingo