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7 Facts About The Dingo

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There's no doubt anymore: the dingo DID take her baby. More than 30 years after the tragic death of a nine-week-old baby in Australia, a coroner has ruled that a dingo was in fact responsible.
The child's mother Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton was originally convicted of her daughter's murder, but always maintained that a dingo grabbed her baby from the family tent during a 1980 camping trip in the Australian outback. She was later cleared of the crime.
The case secured a spot in pop culture after Meryl Streep starred in the 1988 true-crime thriller A Cry in the Dark and famously cried,  "The dingo's got my baby!"
On June 12, 2012, coroner Elizabeth Morris settled the case once and for all, telling reporters, "The cause of her death was as the result of being attacked and taken by a dingo. Dingoes can and do cause harm to humans."
We now know, without a doubt, that these dog-like mammals in Australia can be dangerous. But what else do you know about the species -- that most people simply think to be a punch line spoken in an Australian accent?
  • Dingoes are Australia's largest terrestrial predator. Because they attack livestock, dingoes are seen often considered pests by the sheep industry.
  • The name "dingo" is believed to have originated from the word tingo, which used by the aboriginal people of Port Jackson for their camp dogs.
  • Nicknames: Australian dingoes are occasionally called alpine dingoes, desert dingoes, northern dingoes, Cape York dingoes, or tropical dingoes -- depending on where they live. In recent times people have begun to call them "Australian native dogs" because they are believed to have descended from the Australian wolf.
  • What do they look like? A dingo has a fairly broad head, a pointed muzzle, and pointy ears. It's eyes might be yellow, orange or brown. They usually weigh between 29 and 44 pounds -- however some have weighed up to 77. As with most species, the males are generally larger than females.
  • It's a common misconception that dingoes don't bark. Relative to domestic dogs, their barks are shorter and have been described as monosyllabic. Their most common vocalization is growling -- which under observation, made up 65% of the observed vocalizations.
  • When they kill -- most often livestock -- the dingoes usually bite their prey's throat. For larger kills, usually two or more dingoes will team up to get the job done. 
  • Dingoes will only breed once a year. The gestation period is between 61 and 69 days and a typical litter is about five cubs. Pups are usually born between May and August, which in Australia, is considered winter.
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