We expected the cute young Dingo to run off, wary as most predators are. We have seen wild Dingoes in East Gippsland, Victoria, and they’ve always been very quick to disappear.
He trotted away from us along the roadside for a bit, but didn’t take cover.
Then he spotted a toy.
It was a plastic disposable cup, rolling enticingly in the wind.
He hunkered down, tail twitching.
Then the dingo pounced on the toy.
He picked it up, dropped it, picked it up again. He pawed it playfully, rolled it, and tossed it in the air. It was so cute.
Dingoes are canids – wolf and dog family. It’s easy to look at a wild dingo and see a domestic dog. Many Australian working dog breeds have a bit of Dingo heritage: Queensland Blue Heeler, and possibly Kelpie. Others, like Basenjis, Akita, and German Shepherds have the old wolf characters of pointed, pricked ears, long snout, and bushy tail that Dingoes share.
Seeing the traits of a dog in a wild Dingo is like watching a Lion play like a house cat. It’s endearing, familiar and very very cute.
But dingoes are not dogs. They are wild wolves. And like most wild creatures they are smart opportunists.
Don’t ever ever feed a wild dingo. Don’t attempt to entice them closer, no matter how tempting. Don’t approach them.
Dingoes quickly learn if tourists feed them, and will start approaching cars, tents and families. Then it gets scary because they are wolves, not dogs. If the dingo expects food and doesn’t get it he might bite someone. And then you know what will happen – that dingo will be killed.
Remember – dingoes are capable of killing people. They generally don’t, but where they have its almost always because people fed them. Read this excellent article about dingoes on Fraser Island, Queensland.
Dingoes are not dogs, they are wild, beautiful, intelligent wolves. Enjoy that, and leave them that way.
Seeing a wild dingo with us in the Northern Territory on the Wild Top End tour is magical, and safe. Even if you’re tempted, we won’t let you feed or play with a Dingo. You will watch them safely from the car, or from a distance. For your safety, and for theirs.
NOTES & REFERENCES:
Queensland Government Fact Sheet on Dingoes: https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/fraser/dingo-interactions.html#what_happens_when_people_feed