Every now and then the dingoes would put in an appearance at our camp, which bothered me if I was caught away from the caravan or any place I could duck into (like the cab of a vehicle) – generally they are wary of humans, but hunger will drive them to be more daring and people have been attacked by dingoes, after all when you are looking at wild animals, the laws of nature apply in full force (largely, eat or be eaten) - nature is not a peaceful place, despite what it seems on the surface and despite what we have been encouraged to believe via television and animal-loving movies. Those blinkers get whipped off pretty fast when you are out there and isolated.
I don’t have any pictures of dingoes, unfortunately, so you’ll get some other pictures to decorate this story. :D
Here is a monitor lizard climbing the screen we had around our patio we build just off our hole-in-the-ground living room. I still don’t know how he did it.
What amazed me about the dingoes was their silence. You get a pack of dogs running around suburbia and they generally make a lot of noise. A dingo pack on the move is silent. A few days after we had moved onto the block, and were still based at the top of the hill, I was working in the caravan when Cumulus, our cat, sat bolt upright and stared avidly out of the window. His gaze was so intense, it drew me to look outside, wondering what he saw.
I have no idea what triggered him to notice them, but the entire pack of dingoes in full run came up along the road, they passed by our driveway and kept going, on the hunt. Their silence was intimidating. So was their size. Had it not been for the cat, I would not have noticed them at all. The whole feeling said “deadly”.
Here’s Greg getting wet while trying to cook in the rain. The ladder there is supporting the makeshift roof.
We rarely bumped into dingoes nose-to-nose, and I never did get a picture. I did challenge one when I was caught outside one morning, alone as usual. I don’t know where the rest of the pack was, but this one stood and stared at me, and I tried the “Go on, get out of it,” trick, trying to send it on its way, but it just stood there, weighing me up as though I was some kind of fascinating kangaroo. Instinct told me that I couldn’t afford to back away, I certainly couldn’t afford to run. I had to show aggression (or I’d look like an easy meal), so I snatched a stick up off the ground and walked straight at it. It turned and trotted off, paused and looked back, then trotted off again, not the least bit put out.
Here’s a paw print I found at the edge of our dam (which was right at the edge of our campsite), so we knew they came through and quite close. The picture might not show up very well, but that is a single print, not two. The toes are at the top, with a gap between them and the base of the foot. My hands are there to give an indication of size. That is one big paw belonging to one big dingo!
I learned very quickly to pay attention to my instincts. There were times when I was far from camp, either monitoring wild fires, burn-offs, or down by the creek making mud bricks, and suddenly would have a sense of something wrong or something close – just a sense of danger. I always listened to that inner voice and got out quickly, which may have been me being jumpy, or it may have the exact right thing to do. I wasn’t going to hang around and find out.
I was always very aware how quickly something could go wrong and how awkward that could be for me when I was alone for 14 hours a day.
At the top right hand of the hill in the picture above, you can see the curve of our main driveway, the hill top where we began and where the water tanks went. The road in the foreground is a continuation of that and behind the camera is where the camp was (and where the water pipe I dug that trench for led to).
We had a rifle, obtained because we’d been warned how dangerous it was out in the wilderness – particularly in wild-boar country, which is where we were. And I can tell you now there is NOTHING more scary than pulling up at a Police Station and pulling a rifle out. We had to register it with the police, but I really expected to get jumped walking in with a bloody gun.
Anyhow, the point is, the gun stayed in the caravan, nice and safe, and I never carried the thing. It was never my intention to shoot anything.
Well, that’s it for another day. Tomorrow – termites.
Have a great day, everyone. :)