During a clear night in Central Australia a few years ago, we were fortunate to hear a dingo howling not far from our campsite. It was one of those special camping moments shared with the family. The next evening just after dusk, we were again treated with the howling musical, however this time the dingoes decided to pay us a visit in the campsite as well. The kids got their torches out and we followed them (from a safe distance) through the campground. One thing we noticed that night was that the few dogs that were staying in the campground with their owners had become very very quiet while the dingoes were around. Probably a good thing!
In popular areas like Fraser Island and Uluru, the dingoes are familiar with humans and cause trouble by entering the campsites and stealing food therefore dingo safety is paramount. These animals may lash out and bite people so especially be aware with children.
Children and Dingo Safety
A dingo can easily pull down a wallaby so it would be pretty easy for a young child or toddler to be attacked by a dingo. In 2001 on Fraser Island, two boys were attacked resulting in the death of a 9 year old. They went exploring together and were less than 150 metres from the campsite when two dogs attacked them.
Its wise to stay close to your children when dingoes are present or ensure a teenager is with them. Some kids have been bitten because the dogs are attracted to the kids running around. Unfortunately, the size of the children does not intimidate a dingo as an adult would.
Another good tip is to never let your children sleep in tents without adults when in an area with dingoes are present and keep your food packed away and the tent zipped up.
The Queensland Government have a very detailed website outlining how you should interact with dingoes. The link can be found here.
A few tips from their site regarding Dingo Safety include the following.
If you feel threatened by a dingo:
stand up to your full height
face the dingo
fold your arms and keep eye contact
calmly back away
if in pairs, stand back to back
confidently call for help
do not run or wave your arms.
If you are attacked by a dingo:
defend yourself aggressively, you are fighting for your life
strike the animal with an object such as a stick, backpack or coat.
Going to the toilet when dingoes are in the area
The toilet block at Kings Canyon Resort have gates on them so the dingoes don’t enter the toilets. Like any dog, smells will attract dingoes including what you leave behind in a bush toilet after a night of çhicken curry and half a dozen beers. People using a bush toilet, especially children should never go alone when dingoes are present.
Fast facts about dingos
Pure dingoes are only found on Fraser Island in Queensland. They are defined by their permanently upright ears and no eye lashes
Dingoes will also work in packs to hunt however they are quite capable of bringing down a wallaby by themselves
Dingoes are found throughout Australia except for Tasmania and are believed to have been introduced by Aboriginal Australians thousands of years ago
Dingo safety is important when travelling around Australia.