Fun Oryctodromeus Facts For Kids

Abhijeet Modi
Jan 30, 2023 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Sep 21, 2021
Edited by Christina Harrison
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
One of the interesting Oryctodromeus facts is that it is one of the few dinosaurs that is known to have lived in burrows in the ground.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.3 Min

The Oryctodromeus was a Parksosaurid dinosaur that roamed the Earth in the Cenomanian age of the middle Cretaceous period. It went extinct and died out somewhere between 93.3-95 million years ago. Oryctodromeus fossils were discovered in North America, in the USA. More specifically, they were unearthed in the Wayan formation and the Blackleaf formation in southeastern Idaho and southwestern Montana respectively. A very significant discovery about the Oryctodromeus dinosaur is that it built burrows into the ground, one of the only known genus and species of dinosaur to have done so. The Oryctodromeus built burrows to get shelter from harsher climates, protection against predators, and as a nesting site for its young juvenile children. It is one of the few dinosaurs to exhibit child-care characteristics too. Because of the burrowing evidence, it is known to have lived in different environments like polar regions, windy areas, arid places, and even on high mountains.

For more relatable content, check out these Puertasaurus facts and Homalocephale facts for kids.

Oryctodromeus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Oryctodromeus'?

The Oryctodromeus pronunciation is given as 'Oh-rik-toe-dro-mee-us'.

What type of dinosaur was an Oryctodromeus?

The Oryctodromeus (Oryctodromeus cubicularis) was a Parksosaurid dinosaur.

In which geological period did the Oryctodromeus roam the Earth?

The Oryctodromeus roamed the Earth during the Cenomanian age of the middle Cretaceous period.

When did the Oryctodromeus become extinct?

The Oryctodromeus dinosaur went extinct and died out 93.3-95 million years ago.

Where did an Oryctodromeus live?

Fossils of the Oryctodromeus genus of dinosaurs were discovered in North America, specifically the United States. These dinosaurs can be said to have walked these lands 95 million years ago. Fossil remains were discovered in southeastern Idaho in the Wayan formation, and in southwestern Montana in the Blackleaf formation.

What was an Oryctodromeus' habitat?

Since the Oryctodromeus was a burrowing dinosaur, it was able to survive and live in different environments like windy and arid regions and polar regions and on high mountains.

Through these burrows, Oryctodromeus dinosaurs were able to create a 'microclimate'. The microclimate would have conditions from its outside surroundings. Microclimates would be more moderate than any harsh environments, which is maybe the reason why Oryctodromeus dinosaurs burrowed in the first place. They may have also burrowed to hide from predators, rear their young, and find food. Either way, they managed to live in much harsher climates by creating burrows.

Who did an Oryctodromeus live with?

It is unclear if the Oryctodromeus family socialized with other conspecifics, but adult dinosaurs were present with young juveniles in burrows, and that suggests considerable parental and family care. The juvenile Oryctodromeus size suggests that these dinosaurs cared for them for quite a while.

How long did an Oryctodromeus live?

Being a herbivorous and burrowing dinosaur, the Oryctodromeus may have lived to be around 70-80 years.

How did they reproduce?

Oryctodromeus dinosaurs reproduced by mating and egg-laying.

Oryctodromeus Fun Facts

What did an Oryctodromeus look like?

The Oryctodromeus belonged to the Hypsilophodont group of dinosaurs. It was a swift-footed dinosaur with a small body. Juveniles discovered were about 4.3 ft (1.3 m) long compared to adults' bigger length of 6.9 ft (2.1 m). The Oryctodromeus body did not have any ossified tendons in its tail. Some fossil specimens that were obtained from the Wayan formation show that one thick tendon lattice was present in sacral, caudal, and dorsal columns. This indicates more flexibility in the ossified tendons than previously thought. The pelvis, forelimbs, and jaws of the Oryctodromeus helped it burrow and manipulate soil. The forelimb of the Oryctodromeus was modest when compared to other burrowing animals like echidnas, wombats, and moles. Forelimbs are more comparable to animals that solely dig rather than ones that burrow and run like cavies, hyenas, rabbits, and aardwolves. Since the Oryctodromeus was bipedal, there may have been a modified forelimb that didn't hamper its running abilities.

The Oryctodromeus was a bipedal dinosaur.

How many bones did an Oryctodromeus have?

It is not clear exactly how many bones the Oryctodromeus had.

Two specimens that the Oryctodromeus description is based on are both taken from the Blackleaf formation. There was a partial skeleton belonging to an adult which had an upper beak or premaxillae, a partial braincase, six back vertebrae, three neck vertebrae, seven hip vertebrae, ribs, 23 vertebrae from the tail, a shoulder girdle, an arm without the hand, an incomplete fibula, both tibiae, and finally a metatarsal.

There were two other individuals who were both juveniles and about 55-65% of the adult size. The Wayan formation has also yielded some more partial skeletons.

How did they communicate?

It is unclear how exactly these Oryctodromeus dinosaurs communicated. But like other dinosaurs, they probably had mating and territorial displays along with vocal cues like bellows, grunts, and hoots.

How big was an Oryctodromeus?

The Oryctodromeus was 6.9 ft (2.1 m), which makes it seven times smaller than the Ampelosaurus.

How fast could an Oryctodromeus move?

Exact speeds that an Oryctodromeus could move at are not clear but it is considered one of the swifter and faster running dinosaurs because of its size and burrowing abilities.

How much did an Oryctodromeus weigh?

The Oryctodromeus burrowing dinosaur weighed anywhere between 48.5-70.5 lb (22-32 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of the Oryctodromeus dinosaur genus and species do not have any specific names.

What would you call a baby Oryctodromeus?

A baby Oryctodromeus would be called a nestling or a hatchling.

What did they eat?

Oryctodromeus dinosaurs were herbivores who ate plant materials and vegetation.

How aggressive were they?

The Oryctodromeus group of dinosaurs was small burrowers who were herbivores and showed parental care, so they probably weren't very aggressive.

Did you know...

The given name of the Oryctodromeus is Oryctodromeus cubicularis. The name Oryctodromeus cubicularis means 'digging runner' or 'the lair's digging runner' which is a reference to its running, burrowing lifestyle. The Oryctodromeus is the first non-avian species of dinosaur to exhibit burrowing characteristics.

Burrows have been found in the south of Montana and Australia that show that a herbivorous group of dinosaurs was very capable of burrowing underground for protection and shelter.

There are also fossil traces as far back as the Cretaceous period, more than 100 million years after dinosaurs are known to have evolved. In Argentina's Triassic rock of the Ischigualasto Basin, burrows with large diameters have been found, which could possibly have been made by an archaic group of dinosaurs like the Herrerasaurus and the Eoraptor. Of course, Oryctodromeus dinosaurs are now known to have been burrowers.

The Oryctodromeus dinosaur classification also has it as a member of an order called Ornithischia. The Ornithischia order consists of herbivorous dinosaurs. The pelvic structure of these dinosaurs resembles those of modern-day birds. The name Ornithischia itself translates to 'bird-hipped'.

Fossils of the Oryctodromeus dinosaur were discovered by a paleontologist called Dr. Anthony Martin and his team.

The Oryctodromeus was found to be related to other Hypsilophodonts such as the Zephyrosaurus and the Orodromeus, also from Montana's Cretaceous region. These dinosaurs were preserved in a way similar to the Oryctodromeus. This may suggest that they were burrowers too. These claims have yet to be published though.

Did Oryctodromeus dig burrows?

Yes, the Oryctodromeus has shown strong evidence of burrowing behavior.

Three individuals of the Oryctodromeus genus and species were discovered in an underground den that measured 2.3 ft (70.1 cm) wide and 6.6 ft (2 m) wide. Skeletons were packed together and disarranged, showing that these dinosaurs decayed within remains of this burrow. Similar burrows are made today by animals like hyenas as well as puffins. The Oryctodromeus burrow was sand-filled and sandstone layers that resulted stand out when compared to surrounding claystone and mudstone.

Were Oryctodromeus social?

It is unclear whether these Oryctodromeus dinosaurs were social or not. They did show ample care to their juveniles, however.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Heterodontosaurus surprising facts and Yinlong fun facts for kids pages.

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


Main image by FunkMonk (Michael B. H.).

Second image by Tim Evanson.

Oryctodromeus Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Plant materials and vegetation

what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

3-20 eggs

What Did They Look Like?

Small and bipedal

How Much Did They Weigh?

48.5-70.5 lb (22-32 kg)

Skin Type

Dry scales

How Long Were They?

6.9 ft (2.1 m)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name

Oryctodromeus cubicularis

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters and larger dinosaurs

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Polar regions, windy and arid deserts, high mountains, burrow microclimates

Where Did They Live?

North America (the United States)
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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

Abhijeet Modi picture

Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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