Life is about the journey - some roads are not always what they seem but you sure learn a great deal from them!
Published April 13th 2013
It is interesting to note one's reaction when you mention the word: 'Dingo'. Of course the movie industry did not really help captivate a positive image of these animals with the film 'A Cry in the Dark'. So, to really have the chance to come up close and personal with a dingo still leaves me a little un-nerved.
Dingoes are very shy animals, although they can smell your arrival by almost 2 mile away. Because they have fur under their paws, you will not hear them or even see track marks. And because of their double coat, you will not smell them or even know they were in your tent. So in essence, a Dingo is probably one of nature's best predatory animals.
When I was in Dongara, I saw a little advert about the "Dingoes of Dongara". Of course, there is no time like the present, so I called to see if we needed to make a booking. The interesting thing I learnt was that dingos don't like extreme heat. As soon as it gets over 38 C, they will hide in the burrow/den and sleep until the early evening. As it was a particularly hot day, we were advised to come in the early morning.
The next day we set off to find the Dingoes of Dongara. I was nervous and excited at the same time. The Dingoes of Dongara was initially hard to find. Signage was not easy to see, and in the end we took a chance down a road which we thought said accommodation. For those wanting to go, you can find the Dingoes of Dongara on Brand Highway on the east end of Dongara. If you pass the petrol station (on your right), then you have gone too far.
Phil came out to greet us, and we were soon introduced to Boss and Streak, which were Alpine dingoes. We were advised to stand still while they walked around and smelt us. After a while, all of us were a little at ease and were able to pat the dog. Phil did advise that we pat them harder than most dogs otherwise they might turn to nip the "itch" spot. After Boss was happy with everyone in the enclosure, he did a quick check on top of the den to ensure his territory was in good order. According to Phil, they do this regularly before their afternoon nap to make sure no other predators are near-by.
There were two types of dingoes at the Dingoes of Dongara. They had the Western Australian Dingoes and the Alpine Dingoes. The difference between the two can be seen in some features and also their behaviour. Alpine dingoes are familiar with cooler temperature, while WA dingoes can handle hotter climates. Another interesting aspect of both dingoes is that neither species eat fatty foods. A dingoes main diet consists of lean meat which is found in animals like kangaroo. They are also incredibly fast dogs when hunting and work as most dogs do – as a pack.
The Dingoes of Dongara was a very special treat. We were spoilt with a lot of information about the animals and had the opportunity to get up-close and personal with them. I did walk away with a great more respect for these animals and seeing that they don't like fatty foods – I can rest at night knowing that I am just not on their menu!