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Dingoes are most active at dawn and dusk. They sometimes roam alone, or stick together in small packs numbering up to a dozen dogs. Pack-mates comprise an extended family, including one mating pair and their offspring from the current and sometimes previous years. Packs occupy permanent territories of 4–15 square miles, which they patrol by scent marking and howling.
Dingoes are carnivores. In some parts of their range, they feast on small animals like rabbits, birds, and lizards; in others, they prey on kangaroos and wallabies or wallaroos. Dingoes will also hunt cattle and sheep, an activity that can cause conflicts with ranchers.
Both males and females compete for the rank of “top dog,” a privilege that allows the dominant dog to mate with the alpha female. Other pack members often pitch in with rearing the pups, which are born about once a year, in litters of four to six dogs. The pups might head out on their own shortly after weaning or stay with their family group for up to a year.
In the wild, the dingo typically lives about 5–10 years.
Some of My Neighbors
Cape barren geese, kangaroos, emus
Population Status & Threats
Dingoes are classified as vulnerable, and their populations are declining. The dogs are still common in northern and central regions of Australia and in parts of Thailand, but they are no longer widespread throughout the world as they once were. Persecution by farmers and cross breeding with domestic dogs, which degrades the dingo’s wild genes, represent major threats.