Dingo

Dingoes are believed to have been introduced to Australia about 4000 years ago. They are found throughout mainland Australia and are important to natural ecosystems. 

Dingoes are a protected species in the Northern Territory (NT). 

You must not interfere with these animals without a permit. Read more about wildlife permits.

Dingoes typically have a red, ginger or sandy coat with white markings. Black and tan dingoes are also found in the NT.

Feeding

Dingoes are the top terrestrial predator on mainland Australia. They prey on a range of food items, including mammals, birds and reptiles. 

They are believed to also prey on introduced species such as rabbits and may reduce fox and feral cat populations within their territories. 

They can be an issue for farmers as occasionally they prey on livestock. 

Threats

The NT is believed to have some of Australia's purest dingo populations. 

Domestic dogs and wild dogs threaten the conservation of purebred dingoes as they mix in the wild to breed hybrid dogs. 

Dingoes prey on livestock, so they are also under threat from farmers who are protecting their animals.

Interactions with people

Dingoes take advantage of reliable food and water supplies and are often attracted to homes and towns by their natural curiosity.

Dingoes living near urban areas often mix with domestic dogs, which weakens the dingo's natural characteristics and behaviour. Contact with dogs can also spread disease and parasites such as Sarcoptic mange and Canine distemper. 

They can be a nuisance in urban areas where they may prey on domestic animals and pets. 

They can also cause problems around tourist areas if they are fed or encouraged. 

During breeding season dingoes will be noisy and fight, which can cause noise disruptions. 

Parks and Wildlife actively manage dingoes in the Northern Territory and can respond to dingo control requests from farmers experiencing stock attacks.

Dingo problems

If there are dingoes in your area, you can try all of the following actions to reduce dingo problems:

  • never treat a dingo like a domestic dog as dingoes are wild and can be unpredictable or aggressive
  • never feed wildlife as this will attract dingoes to humans
  • build dog-proof fences, aviaries, fowl yards and other small pet cages to protect your home and animals
  • restrict movement of your dog and/or cat especially at night.

Dingo safety

When you visit a dingo habitat remember all of the following safety tips:

  • always read and obey warning signs
  • supervise small children at all times
  • never dump food waste or rubbish as this may attract dingoes to the area
  • never interfere with, feed or harass dingoes, as they can be dangerous
  • be careful at night and during breeding season when dingoes are most active
  • avoid travelling with pets and ensure dogs are kept securely confined, as they may attract dingoes to the area
  • never release unwanted dogs in the bush.

Report a dingo

To report a dingo in your area contact the Parks and Wildlife office closest to you:

Darwin: 0401 115 702 or (08) 8995 5008.

Katherine: 0407 958 405 or (08) 8973 8888.

Last updated: 27 June 2017