Fun Facts About Velociraptor!

The Velociraptor was a small, fast-moving dinosaur that lived on Earth millions of years ago. It was a carnivore, which means it ate other animals for food. It was about the size of a turkey and had feathers and wings too, but it couldn't fly! Instead it could walk and run quickly on its strong legs. As well as having sharp teeth, on each of it's feet the Velociraptor had a long, curved claw which it used to attack and kill its prey. Although the Velociraptor was small compared to some other dinosaurs, it was a very agile and dangerous predator. 

Velociraptors Videos For Kids

What Did A Velociraptor Look Like?

The Velociraptor looked like an angry killer turkey. As it was a deadly predator, eating other animals for food, it’s no surprise that the Velociraptor had deadly weapons all over its body - it’s mouth was full of razor sharp teeth, at the end of each of its hands were 3 curved claws and on each of its feet was a large sickle-like claw. The Velociraptor’s body was covered in a light feathery coat and it had bigger feathers along its wing-like arms too, as well as a really long tail.

Guess what? The tail wasn’t fleshy but was made from hollow bones fused together. That means it wasn’t very flexible but it was light and helped the Velociraptor keep its balance as it ran and jumped across the desert chasing its victims.

Just like birds of prey today, the Velociraptor would pin its prey to the ground with its large hook shaped claw, which could measure more than 6.5 centimeters around their outer edge. With one foot on the ground and the claw on the other foot stopping its victims from escaping, the Velocirator would use its long tail to keep its balance as the prey struggled, and snap snap snap at them with its mouth full of sharp saw-like teeth.

The Velociraptor’s skull was 23 cm long which was big relative to the size of its body. It didn’t have a beak like a bird, but a long narrow snout with 13-15 teeth in the upper jaw and 14-15 teeth in the lower jaw. The teeth were widely spaced and curved backwards for gripping prey and preventing them from escaping its mouth. Just like lizards and crocodiles alive today, the Velociraptors teeth grew back throughout its life, ensuring they stayed sharp. 

Did you know that only 2 toes can be seen in fossils of the Velociraptor’s footprints, even though the Velociraptor skeletons clearly have 3 forward facing toes on both feet?! Why was that? What had happened to the other toe? It turns out that Velociraptors kept the toe with their sickle shaped claw raised all the time, so it was nice and sharp when they went hunting.

How Big Was A Velociraptor?

The film Jurassic World shows velociraptors as being the same height as a grown-up human, but is that true? No, unfortunately it isn’t! In reality these tiny terrors were about the size of a turkey or a small dog, so their heads would have been at the height of a grown ups knee caps, not their eye balls!

 How Big Was A Verlociraptor - Diagram comparing the size of a velociraptor vs a t-rex vs a human

An adult Velociraptor could reach 2m long (6 feet 7 inches) and 50cm tall (1 foot 8 inches) at the hip according to Science Focus. That sounds really long, but most of the length was their long bony tail which they used for balance when they ran, and to support themselves when they were standing on 1 leg and using their other leg to pin down prey with their sickle-like claw. 

The Velociraptors in the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films were actually based on a bigger relative of the Velociraptor called the Deinonychus which was the size of a pony and could reach 3.4 meters long (11 feet 2 inches) and 87cm tall (2 feet 10 inches). The biggest of all the raptors was the Utahraptor which was the size of a horse and could reach 4.9m long (16 feet and 9 inches) and 1.5m tall at the hips (4 feet 11 inches). There were other even smaller raptors too, like the Microraptor, which was only 77cm long (2 feet 6 inches). 

And how did the Velociraptor compare to the Tyrannosaurus Rex? A large adult T Rex could have a body length of 12 meters (40 feet) and a height of 3.6 meters (12 feet) at the hips, so the T Rex is 6 times longer than the Velociraptor and over 7 times taller!

How Much Did A Velociraptor Weigh?

As the Velociraptor wasn’t a very big dinosaur, it wasn’t a very heavy dinosaur either. Scientists estimate that an adult Velociraptor would have weighed between 15 - 33 pounds (7 - 15 kilograms). So the Velociraptor was about the same weight as a turkey, but a lot more dangerous!

The average American man weighs 200 pounds, so one man would weigh the same as 6 big Velociraptors. The Velociraptor might look small in comparison to a man, but it looks tiny in comparison to a T Rex. Scientists estimating how big is a T-Rex believe a large Tyrannosaurus have weighed around 15,500 pounds (7,000 kilograms), so one T-Rex would have weighed the same as 470 Velociraptors. Wow, that’s enormous, no wonder the T-Rex was called the King of the Dinosaurs!

Velociraptor vs. Man Weight Comparison
Velociraptor vs. T-Rex Weight Comparison

The Velociraptor wasn’t the smallest raptor though. The Microraptor wins that title, checking-in at between 1 - 3 pounds (0.5 - 1.4 kilograms). There were bigger raptors too! The Deinonychus, which was the inspiration for the Velociraptors we see in the Jurassic Park movies, was estimated to weigh between 132 - 161 pounds (60 - 73 kilograms). So it was about the same weight as a pony. And Utahraptor was the biggest raptor of them all! It was about the size of a horse and weighed around 620 pounds (280 kg), so 25 Utahraptors would have weighed the same as one T-Rex!

Just because the Velociraptor wasn’t a very heavy dinosaur, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t dangerous! It was a fierce predator, which was quick and agile, with razor sharp claws!

How Fast Was A Velociraptor?

It’s easy to work out how fast living animals can run, but how do you work out ‘How fast was a Velociraptor?’ when they’ve been extinct for millions of years? Did you know that you can work out whether an animal is a good runner or not by looking at its skeleton? Well, it’s true! Scientists can compare the length of an animal’s thigh and shin bones to estimate how fast it can run, or they can build complex models using the entire skeleton. So, if you want to know ‘How fast could a Velociraptor run?’ then look at its legs. The Velociraptor had really long shin bones compared to its thighs, which means it had long strides and was able to run really fast! 

With big muscular legs, light hollow bones, and a long tail to steer and keep balance, the Velociraptor was able to run quickly over the sand dunes to catch its prey. According to the Natural History Museum in London the Velociraptor could run 25 miles per hour (40 kilometers per hour), at least in short bursts. 

How fast was a velociraptor? An image comparing the top speed of a Cheetah, a Lion, a Velociraptor and a Jogger

The top speed an Olympic athlete can run 100 meters is 23 miles per hour (38 kilometers per hour), so the Velociraptor could have run faster than the quickest sprinter! It still would have been a lot slower than the fastest animal in the world, the Cheetah! Cheetahs can reach a top speed of 75 miles per hour (120 kilometers per hour) which is 3 times as fast as the Velociraptor. Now that really is speedy! And how about a Lion? There are so many pictures of the King of the Jungle relaxing in the sun, but actually they’re really fast too. Lions can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour), which is twice as fast as a Velociraptor.

But why are we talking about Cheetahs, Lions and Olympic athletes? There would have definitely been slower animals around that would have tasted just as good! A mouse can run at 8 miles per hour (13 kilometers per hour) for example, which is the same speed as the average man jogs. So, there would have been lots of tasty treats around for the Velociraptor to catch!

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