Fun Irritator Facts For Kids

Monika Sharma
Jan 13, 2023 By Monika Sharma
Originally Published on Sep 23, 2021
Edited by Kidadl Team
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
A famous fact about the Irritator is it had a distinguished snout tip.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.4 Min

The Irritator comes from the family of Spinosauridae and sub-family Spinosaurinae. It's estimated that these dinosaurs lived around 110 million years ago during the early Cretaceous period. This family of Spinosaurids started living during the Albian age around places such as Brazil. The reason behind the name of this dinosaur is very funny and is because of the Irritator dinosaur fossil. Earlier paleontologists were very irritated by the complex and damaged skull of this dinosaur and hence they named it the Irritator, which comes from the genus name "irritation". Other than that, the name of this known Spinosaurid is also a tribute to a fictional character named Professor Challenger in the famous series Arthur Conan.

Fossils near the Santana formation in northeastern Brazil indicates that the Irritator ate meat. Earlier researchers such as Martill and Cruikshank assumed this dinosaur was a pterosaur. Martill et al 1996  classified the Irritator into its real genus and named it to be a Spinosaurid theropod. The illegal fossil market in Brazil run by fossil dealers is also a reason for the uncertainty surrounding Irritators. Current estimations indicate that Irritators were very friendly dinosaurs and were known to exist with other carnivore theropods such as turtles. To learn more about other exciting animals make sure to check out our other articles on the vulture and black vultures.

Irritator Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Irritator '?

In previous times, the dinosaur Irritator and the Angaturma were known to be the same species. However, Kellner was doubtful due to overlapping fossil material. The fossil neck vertebral column is one of the details which support the claim. Although doubts still persist, for now the Irritator challengeri is known to be a Spinosauride. It's very simple to pronounce Irritator; one can pronounce it by "IRI-ta-TOR".

What type of dinosaur was an irritator?

The Angaturama and the Irritator shared a lot of similarities, specifically their skull. Remains recovered of the Irritator were thought they could belong to Angaturama limai. Later studies came to show that remains and the skull along with the tooth belonging to the Irritator were slightly different than those of the Angaturama. Only recently did other scientists and researchers such as Martill, Cruikshank, and Frey learn that an alien Irritator is a Spinosauridae.

In which geological period did the irritator roam the Earth?

110 million years ago when the Santana formation just began to gain its roots, dinosaurs such as the Irritator roamed the ground in a large number. This dinosaur with a shallow and slender snout lived during the early Cretaceous period.

When did the Irritator become extinct?

Prehistoric wildlife is unique and interesting in its own ways. Earth's temperature and conditions control the living of many animals and the same was the case with dinosaurs. The Irritator became extinct because of asteroid collision.

Where did an Irritator live?

The Santana formation was the home for Irritators and they existed with aquatic life and also actively hunted these animals, meaning that they could catch and scavenge remains of animals they lived with on a regular basis. The novel 'Lost World' talks a lot about the Irritator and other facts about them.

What was an Irritator's habitat?

Considering it was the lower Cretaceous time, the Irritator lived in dense vegetation. Researchers Frey and Small believed that its natural ecosystem must have been very near to aquatic life, making it easy for the Irritator to hunt. Further examination of the specimen revealed that other dinosaur lower classifications also lived along with Irritators.

Who did an Irritator live with?

The Baryonyx size and that of Spinosaurids is very comparable, along with other similar traits. We can form a relative judgment about the behavior of the Irritator based on that. Scientists knew very little about the shaped crest and skull of a Spinosaurus. The Irritator challengeri lived with sea turtles and cowfishes unless otherwise noted. Their friendly relationships with aquatic life forms are known and also interesting.

How long did an Irritator live?

The snout had been artificially elongated by fossil dealers and thus, a lot of information about this dinosaur with a sagittal crest is lost to the world. It is known if it actively participated in hunting and that can be the reason for its short lifespan. It ate pterosaurs as well so it can be assumed that it had a very nutritious diet.

How did they reproduce?

Andrew Kellner draws a comparison between reptiles of today's age and fossils of dinosaurs under research to understand reproduction in dinosaurs better. This resident of the Santana formation reproduced by laying eggs.

Irritator Fun Facts

What did an Irritator look like?

They are one of the smallest Spinosaurids known. On the back, Irritators have marks. Their teeth are long and are very similar to those of the Angaturama. They had a very long and unusual crest which gave structure to the Spinosauridae. Head crests were similar to many other specimens from the Spinosaurids, although specimens were damaged greatly. The Irritator had a thin crest that ran through their nasal area and the skull. Although fossils under examination were very often damaged, the skull and head areas could be identified correctly by scientists.

Irritators were carnivores with long conical teeth.

How many bones did an Irritator have?

Overall, bones of this dinosaur are not known. They had a bone on the main upper jaw, along with some indeterminate fragments of bones along their crest. Several other bones such as nasal bones can also be taken into account.

How did they communicate?

Martill and other scientists say that dinosaurs of all kinds are intelligent enough to communicate through vocal calls or some special visual signs. The same is known from studying different dinosaur fossils of various kinds for years.

How big was an Irritator?

They were the smallest Spinosaurids, although they were still very large. They were almost the same in size as a Sumatran elephant. A Bactrian camel is almost four times smaller in size compared to this resident of the Santana formation.

How fast could an Irritator move?

Not much information from the fossil of an Irritator is given to us as some of its parts were artificially made by illegal sellers. The snout had been artificially elongated as well.

How much did an Irritator weigh?

An Irritator weighed around 1 t (1,000 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

Both genders had a small skull and similar teeth formation and their fossil structure was also similar. Thus, they are called a similar name.

What would you call a baby Irritator?

Frey, Small and other scientists call a baby reptile and a baby dinosaur the same name. Both of them can be called either a nestling or a hatchling.

What did they eat?

Aquatic life is known to be one of the go-to meals for this sagittal crest dinosaur. Martill et al 1996 revealed that they ate other smaller dinosaurs as well. Their behavior matched their neighboring species Angaturama very much in this aspect, although their long, shallow and conical teeth are an exception.

How aggressive were they?

Their fast head movements and their inclined snout are a powerful combination during hunting prey. Martill describes them as not very aggressive.

Did you know...

The Irrigator challengeri had a very diverse diet. Its tooth was very strong, enough to cut through bones, but this dinosaur very often ate fish.

A tooth that belongs to the Irritator is still present in the fossil neck of a Pterosaur, indicating that the Irritator ate Pterosaurs.

The Irritator is not endemic. It got its name because the study of this dinosaur was very irritating.

The Irritator lived in humid environments.

What does the name Irritator mean?

The skull, teeth, and the head of fossils were artificially disturbed. Hence, scientists found it very difficult to work with a specimen, so they named it Irritator challengeri.

What is the smallest Spinosaurid?

This dinosaur from South America is known to be the smallest Spinosaurid named after Professor Challenger.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our mimic octopus facts and sea snake facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable irritator dinosaur coloring pages.

The main image is owned by Mariana Ruiz.

The second image is owned by Андрей Белов.

Irritator Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Fish and other small prey

what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?

Reddish brown

How Much Did They Weigh?

1 t (1,000 kg)

Skin Type

Hard scales

How Long Were They?

25 ft (7.62 m)

How Tall Were They?

26 ft (8 m)









Scientific Name

Irritator challengeri

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Grass plains and tundras

Where Did They Live?

South America
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Written by Monika Sharma

Bachelor of Science specializing in Electronics and Telecommunication

Monika Sharma picture

Monika SharmaBachelor of Science specializing in Electronics and Telecommunication

With a passion for crafting engaging and informative content, Monika brings a wealth of writing experience to our team. Her Bachelors in Electronics and Telecommunications from Symbiosis Institute Of Technology adds a unique perspective to her work, allowing her to effectively communicate complex ideas in a clear and concise manner. Over the past two years, Monika has perfected her writing skills through her roles as a content writer, content manager, and digital marketer for reputable companies in both the USA and India. This hands-on experience has provided her with a deep understanding of industry trends and best practices, ensuring that the content she produces is always of the highest quality. She stays current with the latest field developments,continuously refining her skills to deliver exceptional content.

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