Are there dingos at Uluru?

Are there dingos at Uluru? Yes, but they are nothing to be afraid of. Read on to learn more about Australia’s native dog.

No trip to Australia is complete without observing some of the country’s unique wildlife in their natural habitat. You’re almost certain to see a kangaroo bouncing down the side of the road at some point, and hopefully you will have the opportunity to admire some of the more elusive animals including echidnas, wombats and koalas. But as you roll out your swag in the Red Centre, you may hear a lonely canine howl and find yourself wondering, are their wolves in Australia or what?

Not to worry, the howl you hear will most likely be that of a dingo. If you are old enough to know the iconic line “a dingo got my baby”, this howl might send shivers up your spine. But don’t worry, like most dogs, dingos are usually harmless and will shy away from contact with humans. But knowing a bit more about them will calm your nerves and help you be prepared for if you are lucky enough to spot one in the wild.

What is a dingo?

The dingo is a wild dog native to Australia. It is closely related to Asian dog and wolf species and is believed to have been introduced to Australia by Asian seafarers thousands of years ago. Dingoes are naturally lean with short fur, most commonly reddish brown or sandy yellow coloured. They feed on small animals such as rabbits and native marsupials but will also scavenge from humans where they can. Dingoes usually live alone or in small packs and can roam great distances.

As Australia’s largest carnivore, dingoes play an important part in maintaining balance in the ecosystem. Preying on animals such as rabbits they assist in reducing the numbers of introduced species, aiding native animal populations. Early British settlers recorded dingoes living with Aboriginal people, and they feature prominently in Dreamtime stories.

Are dingos dangerous?

Like any wild animal, dingoes can attack humans if they feel threatened or endangered, but they will generally avoid contact with people. There have been incidents of dingo attacks in Australia, but they are usually isolated cases. Nonetheless, you should exercise caution around dingoes as they are wild animals and their behaviour can be unpredictable. Travellers with children are especially advised to take care as dingoes won’t be as intimated by a smaller body.

What to do if you encounter a dingo?

If you do come face to face with a wild dingo, don’t panic. Imagine you are meeting a strange dog on the street – the worst thing you can do is turn and run which will invite the animal to chase you. Instead, stand at full height with your arms folded across your chest. Calmly back away maintaining eye contact with the dingo.

While dingoes may come to scavenge food, it important not to feed them. Developing a reliance on or positive association with food and people can lead to behavioural problems, not to mention health issues from eating human food. If you are camping, keep your food safe in an esky or the car, and throw away rubbish in a secure bin.

As with all Australian wild animals, it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to observe them in the wild, so if you do spot a dingo, enjoy it!

Related article: What animals can you see at Uluru?

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