Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Do desert dingoes drink daily? Visitation rates at remote waterpoints in the Strzelecki Desert

Benjamin L. Allen

School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland, Gatton, Qld 4343, Australia. Present address: Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Sulphide Street, Broken Hill, NSW 2880, Australia. Email: benjamin.allen@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Australian Mammalogy 34(2) 251-256 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AM12012
Submitted: 21 April 2011  Accepted: 19 March 2012   Published: 8 August 2012

Abstract

Dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) are water-limited apex predators in Australian terrestrial systems, but observations of dingoes in arid areas far removed from water suggest that dingoes may not always need access to free water to persist. Data from GPS-collared dingoes in the Strzelecki Desert were used to measure waterpoint visitation rates of eight dingoes from four adjacent territories. Each dingo regularly went 3–5 days without visiting waterpoints in all seasons, and individuals of the same pack visited waterpoints at different frequencies and at different times of the day. The longest period without visiting a waterpoint was 22 days in summer and winter from two different individuals. These results have implications for places where dingo baiting occurs, and suggest that diet may play an important role in the use of waterpoints by dingoes.

Additional keywords: apex predator, arid zone, Canis lupus dingo, dog physiology, water requirements, wild dogs.


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