A GERMAN tourist played dead and then climbed a tree to escape dingoes that savagely mauled him as he slept on a Fraser Island roadside after becoming lost at night.

The man, aged 23, is understood to have drunk a considerable amount of alcohol before getting up to go to the toilet about 2.30am on Saturday.

He became disoriented and took a wrong turn onto Woralie Rd, walking about 800m away from the K'Gari campsite before he sat down and went to sleep - only to be startled awake some time later as dingoes sank their teeth into his limbs.

After attempts to fight off the animals failed, the man tried to play dead in hope they would leave him alone.

However, the unprovoked attack continued and the man ran from the scene with two or three dingoes in hot pursuit.

Covered in dingo bites, scratches and blood, the man climbed a tree to escape , and waited until the animals left before trying to climb down.

But his ordeal was not over - he fell from a branch, and lay on the ground before going to sleep again.

Just before 6.30am, he recovered enough to walk back into the camp, where his tour guide arranged medical help.

The man's worst injuries were three deep puncture wounds that tore flesh from his right calf, and deep lacerations to his scalp and eyelid.

While almost his entire body was covered in scratches, bites and bruising, only his throat and abdomen were left untouched - suggesting the animals may not have tried to kill him.

"To have been attacked while no-one else was around, by at least two dingoes, he is very fortunate to be alive," Department of National Parks regional manager Ross Belcher said.

"It may have been two sub-adult dingoes being aggressive and guarding their turf."

While dingoes that attack people are usually euthanased, the German tourist could not identify the animals involved so none will be put down.

Rangers later found the jacket the man had been wearing, that had been ripped to shreds

After undergoing minor surgery, the man is in a stable condition in Hervey Bay hospital.

The man was on a tour with the Rainbow Beach Adventure Company, which did not answer telephone calls yesterday.

Rangers have increased patrols on Fraser Island as a result of the incident.

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