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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 6

Carnivora. — Canis Dingo


Canis Dingo.

The Dingo, Warrigal of the natives, is the only Australian representative of the large Group of carnivorous animals inhabiting every other part of the globe: and as our "Native Dog" has already established a reputation for himself, I shall be as brief as possible. In spite of the many enemies of the Dingo he is as plentiful as ever on the Lower Murray and Darling; neither the strychnine of the settlers, nor the guns or spears of the Aborigi- page 3 nals could exterminate the breed: which no doubt is also maintained by stray shepherds' dogs—not all the so-called Dingos being of the pure "Warrigal" blood.

There is a black and tan coloured variety. Various litters taken by myself had generally four pups, sometimes a pair of each colour. The natives, who hate the Dingo most cordially for his living on the fat of the land, kill him on every opportunity and eat his flesh, which is by no means of ill flavour, though I have partaken of it under stress of hunger, and I will not vouch that I should sit down to roast Dingo with the same gusto now as ten years ago in the Murray scrub.

A question has been raised as to the origin of the Dingo in Australia, and several high authorities are of opinion that the dog was introduced there by man; if so, this must have been at a very remote age, as the first molar tooth of a dog has been found with other fossil remains in the breccia of the Wellington caves.

In those days of Diprotodons, not only did the Dingo exist, but also some of the animals now restricted to the island of Tasmania, as Thylacinus and Sarcophilus, teeth of which I have discovered in the same breccia, and which are now on view at the Australian Museum.