Fun Mauisaurus Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Feb 20, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 22, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Mauisaurus facts are interesting to read.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

Do you find prehistoric animals fascinating? Then here we have Mauisaurus, a prehistoric species of reptile that belonged to the genus Mauisaurus and family Elasmosauridae. The species M. haasti lived about 85.8 million years ago during the Santonian age of the Late Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era. Many fossils, including a fossil of their skull, their limbs, and more have been found on the South Island of New Zealand. Hence, it's believed that they used to live in New Zealand. This reptile was a carnivore and an apex predator that used to feed on other marine animals, like fish or squid. They had a long neck with 68 cervical vertebrae, but scientists still haven't figured out the function of this long neck. They also hold the title of the largest plesiosaur. 

Read on to know more about this reptile and if you like this article, then also check out Woolungasaurus and Brachauchenius.

Mauisaurus Interesting Facts

Was the Mauisaurus a dinosaur?

Mauisaurus were not a species of dinosaur, they were a species of prehistoric long-necked marine reptile. They coexisted with many other species of marine dinosaurs, but they were not dinosaurs.

How do you pronounce 'Mauisaurus'?

The phonetic pronunciation of 'Mauisaurus' is 'Mow-e-sore-us'.

What type of marine reptile was a Mauisaurus?

Mauisaurus was a species of plesiosaur that belonged to the genus Mauisaurus and the family Elasmosauridae.

In which geological period did the Mauisaurus live?

Mauisaurus roamed the earth during the Late Cretaceous period around 85.8 million years ago. They were thought to be alive around the Santonian stage in New Zealand.

When did the Mauisaurus become Extinct?

The exact time when Mauisaurus went Extinct is not known. The Mauisaurus lived in New Zealand during the Late Cretaceous period and it ended along with the Mesozoic era with a mass extinction event. Many species of plants, dinosaurs, and other animals went Extinct in this event. It's assumed that the Mauisaurus became Extinct in this mass extinction event around 66 million years ago as well.

Where did a Mauisaurus live?

All the fossils of the Mauisaurus that have been found to date, have all been found near Canterbury on the South Island of New Zealand. Hence, it has been assumed that the Mauisaurus used to live in New Zealand.

What was a Mauisaurus' habitat?

The climate during the Cretaceous period was quite warm, so many shallow inland seas were created around many places in this time. However, when the Late Cretaceous period came and the Cenozoic era was also approaching, the climate started cooling down and drying a little by little. Hence, it's assumed that the Mauisaurus lived in a little cooler climate than its predecessors. They were also marine reptiles, so they lived in open oceans.

Who did a Mauisaurus live with?

It's not known whether the Mauisaurus lived solitary lives or in groups. However, it's known that plesiosaurs, in general, used to live in groups, mainly for their own protection.

How long did a Mauisaurus live?

Due to a lack of data owing to the small number of fossils found, the lifespan of the Mauisaurus is not known.

How did they reproduce?

Mauisaurus lived about 85.8 million years ago. Till now only a few bones of these dinosaurs have been found, so scientists have still been unable to figure out everything about them. That's why not much is known about the reproductive system of the species M. haasti as well. The only thing known about the Mauisaurus is that they were viviparous in nature. From prehistoric times to today, all viviparous animals give birth to live young ones. They all go through a pregnancy where the baby grows inside one parent and the parent gives birth after a certain time passes depending on the development of the embryo in their body. Mauisaurus gave birth in the same manner.

Mauisaurus Fun Facts

What did a Mauisaurus look like?

Mauisaurus was the largest marine reptile of New Zealand. They had a long body along with a long neck similar to all other plesiosaurs. They had a total of four flippers on the underside of their body that helped them swim fast in the ocean and probably even swim to the shorelines. They also had long sharp teeth. It's also been found that they had one of the longest necks found of a plesiosaur.

Mauisaurus lived in New Zealand.

How many bones did a Mauisaurus have?

Very few fossils of the Mauisaurus have been found to date, an entire Mauisaurus skeleton could not be made. Hence, the exact number of bones they had is not known. However, from the discovered fossil, scientists have found out that they had 68 cervical vertebrae which helped them move about quite flexibly in the ocean.

How did they communicate?

Not much is known about how the Mauisaurus communicated with each other. It can only be assumed that they communicated the same way as many other marine animals. Hence, they probably made some form of sound as a signal to communicate with others of their own species or other species.

How big was a Mauisaurus?

An adult Mauisaurus size was about 66 ft (20 m) in length. They were about six to eight times larger than the Dolichoderius. The Dolichoderius was about 8-9.8 ft (2.5-3 m) in length.

How fast could a Mauisaurus move?

The exact speed at which Mauisaurus could move is not known. However, they had flippers which helped them swim smoothly and at a fast pace in the ocean. Plesiosaurs in general could swim at an average speed of about 0.9 mph (1.4 kph) and at an optimum speed of about 5.6 mph (9 kph).

How much did a Mauisaurus weigh?

The exact weight of the Mauisaurus is not known. However, plesiosaurs, in general, used to weigh about 1102 lb (500 kg) on average.

What were the male and female names of the species?

The males and females have no specific names.

What would you call a baby Mauisaurus?

A baby Mauisaurus was called a juvenile.

What did they eat?

Mauisaurus was an apex predator and a carnivore. Its believed that mostly they used to feed on fish or squid and more similar marine animals. They had sharp teeth that helped them bite into their prey.

How aggressive were they?

It's not known whether they used to fight between themselves aggressively. However, they were apex predators, so they were surely aggressive towards their prey.

Did you know...

A total of nine specimens of the Mauisaurus has been found to date. Among them, three were of their ribs, paddles, and one fossil of a jaw fragment, which were lost. Among the rest, scientists found bones of all limbs, a partial illium, fragments of pubes, and a few more bones. Fossil of Mauisaurus skull bone fragments was also found.

The genus of this species is Mauisaurus. Before the species was attributed to this specific genus, many specimens were thought to be a part of this genus. However, a research paper published in 2017 restricted the genus Mauisaurus to be the lectotype.

What does the name 'Mauisaurus' mean?

The name 'Mauisaurus' means 'Māui lizard'. Māui was the demigod in the myths of the Māori people. It's believed that Māui created the country of New Zealand by pulling the land with a fishhook from the seabed. The scientific name of Mauisaurus is Mauisaurus haasti. The name 'haasti' came from the man who discovered the first fossil of the Mauisaurus, the renowned geologist and explorer Julius von Haast.

Was the Mauisaurus the largest plesiosaur?

Yes, Mauisaurus was the largest plesiosaur. They could grow up to about 66 ft (20 m) in length.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly prehistoric animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Bakonydraco fun facts, or Palaeosaurus facts for kids.

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

Hero image is by Nobu Tamura

Second image is by J.B Del

Fun Mauisaurus Facts For Kids

How Much Did They Weigh?


Skin Type


How Long Were They?

66 ft (20 m)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name

Mauisaurus haasti

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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