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The Diversity of Dingo Diets

Dingoes eat more than 200 different species of birds, mammals and reptiles, as well as fish, frogs, beetles, grasshoppers, moths and even crabs.

Dingoes eat more than 200 different species of birds, mammals and reptiles, as well as fish, frogs, beetles, grasshoppers, moths and even crabs.

By Tim Doherty

From crustaceans to camels, Australia’s top predator dines out on hundreds of vertebrate species, including threatened animals and pests.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Few species of Australian animal elicit polarised sentiments as much as the dingo. The dingo is an iconic Australian animal sitting at the top of the food chain and playing an important role in ecosystem function. As an apex predator, dingoes can regulate prey populations, with effects that filter all the way down to plants and even soils. For instance, kangaroo populations can boom when they are released from dingo predation, leading to increased herbivory and lower plant biomass. In this regard, some have referred to the dingo as Australia’s answer to the Northern Hemisphere’s grey wolf.

Although they are an important part of Australia’s eco­systems, managing dingoes is contentious because they sometimes kill livestock and threatened species. Efforts to reduce impacts on livestock involve shooting, trapping and poison baiting across much of their range.

Dingoes sometimes prey on threatened species too, and attempts to establish wild populations of endangered mammals have sometimes failed in part due to dingo predation.

This means that conflicts can emerge between the different ways that dingoes are managed. Because each of these positive and negative impacts centres around what dingoes eat, it is important that we understand how dingo diets vary between different parts of the country.

Dingoes are found across most of the mainland and on...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.