It is usually known as the Australian wild dog. The dingo is believed to have originated in Asia and brought to Australia by Austronesian traders some 3,000 years back. They thrived upon introduction, and quickly spread out across Australia, quite possibly with individual assistance. Within a short time period the dingo had occupied the entire continent and became a dominant predator, probably contributing to the extinction of marsupial carnivores like the Thylacine. Recently, the dingo has become seen as a pest species, and many steps, including a comprehensive fence, have been made to stem its encroachment on human property/welfare. Also, due to its inbreeding with dogs introduced by European settlers, the dingo gene pool is also considered to be increasingly”polluted”.
The dingo weighs between 22 and 53 pounds approximately, being usually smaller the wolves of the northern hemisphere. It stands about 17 – 25 inches at the shoulder, and measures approximately 34 – 48 inches long. Although fur coloring differs slightly, dingoes are usually ginger in colour. Although the dingo does not generally occur in packs (more often existing in pairs or small family groups), it’s capable of forming larger groups to hunt.
Dingoes predate on a variety of animals. The majority of its prey species are small or medium in size, such as lizards and rodents. The dingo is opportunistic, and in addition to searching is also known to consume fruits and plants and scavenge from humans.
Modern dingoes are dispersed primarily in small pockets of forests in Southeast Asia and in several portions of Australia. In Australia, it occurs mostly in the northwest. The”Great Dingo Fence” was started in the 1880s, and supposed to keep dingoes from the relatively fertile southeast of Australia and to protect sheep. Although it has managed to stem the dingo from existing in larger numbers, some dingoes can nevertheless be found in the southern portions of the continent today.
Dingoes breed once annually, normally between March and June. Pups are born after about 63 days, and litter sizes range from 4 to 6 offspring. The young may be left on their own after only a month or two, or they may stay with their parents for up to a year before independence. Males reach sexual maturity by age one, and females become capable of communicating at about exactly the same age.