Animals Nature



The dingo is a canine with an ancient lineage.  The taxonomic classification is often debated.  It is considered a domestic dog without its own subspecies today.  Deviations may occur in the future.  The word dingo was first used by the indigenous Australians around the Sydney metroplex in their native Dharug language.  The Yarralin natives in the north called the animal walakuNgurakin was used by tribes deeper in the wilderness.

The wedged shaped head is the widest part of the body.  Dingoes are lean and narrow and agile.  The average weight of a wild male is thirty-five pounds.  Females are five pounds lighter.  Captive animals are larger.  The boys and girls are a little over four feet long.  Females are just under two feet tall.  Northern Australian Dingoes are larger than their relatives in southern and central Australia.

An average dingo can run at speeds close to forty miles per hour.  They have the ability to rotate their wrists and raise latches or turn doorknobs to escape confinement. Domestic dogs cannot.  Dingo shoulder joints are flexible and malleable.  Rocks, trees, cliffs and fences are scalable.  The ability to reach vantage points in difficult terrains is important for survival.  The Norwegian Lundehund that inhabits desolate islands have a comparable adaptation.  Wolves do not.

dingo 1
Dingo on the beach – Photo Credit: Sam Fraser-Smith


The skull of the animal is similar to the golden jackal.  The long muzzle is supported by slender teeth and a flat cranium.  Dingoes have three dominate fur colors of ginger, white and black and tan.  Around seventy four percent of the population sport a ginger coat.  Some are lighter than others.  White markings on the tips of the tail and feet and chest are common.  Twelve percent are black with tan muzzles and other appendages.  Solid white dingoes make up two percent.

One percent are solid black.  Three genes affect fur color.  A domestic dog carries nine.  The ginger trait is dominant and contains all of the other shades.  White and black dingoes will yield the same coat in their offspring.  Cross breeding results in a sandy color.  The tropical Australian northern inhabitants have a single coat.  An undercoat is present in dingoes that live in the south or among the mountains.

The dingo diet is varied.  Ten species make up eighty percent of their sustenance.  Wallaby, kangaroo, cattle, rat, possum, goose, rabbit and wombat are eaten.  Seeds, insects, fish, crabs and frogs and reptiles provide the garnish.  Four cups of water are swallowed in the winter.  The intake is doubled in the summer months.  The liquid consumed in the bodies of their prey is sufficient.  Some can survive over twenty days without drinking water directly.

Dingo – Photo Credit: jimmyharris


Dingoes hunt in packs.  The size of the party depends on the mass of the prey.  Everyone approaches from the back.  The trachea and major blood vessels in the neck are the target.  A loss of blood concludes the affair.  Dingo handshakes.  Large kangaroos are worn down before the evisceration of muscle tissue occurs.  Hyenas and wolves use similar tactics.  Young cattle and buffalo are targets.  Vigorous adults are avoided and a threat if provoked.  Eagles and snakes are a dingo’s predators.

Young males are nomadic loners.  Breeding adults form groups.  The size depends on the availability of food. Territory overlap is possible.  Desert areas are home to smaller and more flexible packs.  The lack of water sources is the primary cause.  The animals copulate once a year.  The mating season is between March and May.  Females are sexually mature at two years of age.  Some males start earlier.  The alpha pair in the pack will reproduce first.  The subordinates will help raise the young if they are unsuccessful.

Gestation lasts for two months.  One to ten puppies are born between May and August.  Five is the average.  More males are born than females.  The alpha lady will attempt to eliminate pack member’s offspring.  Pups leave the den for the first time after three weeks.  They move out within two months and stray within two miles from home.  Adults acts as chaperones on longer travels.  Solid food is consumed after twelve weeks.  Independence is achieved between three to six months.  The dingo young vanish after ten months at the start of the next mating season.

young dingo
Dingo pup in the wild – Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Dingoes have a quick monosyllabic bark.  The sound is uncommon and used during five percent of vocalizations.  Howls have ten variations.  They can be distinguished as quick and abrupt, ebbing and rising and long and persistent.  The pitch and frequency vary with the time of day and season.  The noise is used to assert dominance and express the size of their pack.  A dingo selects a letter.  There is also a number.  The audience listens.  Five in a row.  Dingo bingo.

Dingo Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis
Species: C. lupus
Subspecies: C. l. dingo
dingo pup
Relaxing Dingo – Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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