Fun Rapator Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 30, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 30, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
You will never forget these 15 Rapator facts!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.8 Min

Every dinosaur enthusiast knows of Raptors, but have you heard of the Rapator? The Rapator ornitholestoides was an Australian native that lived during the Late/Upper Cretaceous period. Very little info has been gathered about this dinosaur. What is known to us is based on the recovery of a single opalized left finger bone from Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, Australia.

The lack of specimens led to a lot of confusion when it came to describing the Rapator. Paleontologists were unsure which genus the dinosaur belonged to. At first, it was thought to be of the same size as a North American dinosaur (Ornitholestes). Following the discovery of another similar species (Australovenator), scientists concluded that the Rapator belonged to the same genus. This data is still being examined.

Here are 15 exciting facts about the Rapator! Check out facts about other dinosaurs like Ichthyovenator and Heterodontosaurus on Kidadl.

Rapator Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Rapator'?

The pronunciation of Rapator goes like 'Ra-pa-tor Orr-nith-o-less-toy-dees'.

What type of dinosaur was a Rapator?

Rapator is a type of megaraptoran theropod belonging to the family of Neovenatoridae. Its type species is referred to as Rapator ornitholestoides (Von Huene, 1932). However, palaeontologists consider this genus as a nomen dubium, which translates to an unknown or doubtful name. Since their current classification is largely based on a single bone, palaeontologists feel that they still haven't reached a correct description of the species. The discovery of Australovenator showed that it had a similar metacarpal like the Rapator. This little similarity indicated that the Rapator was probably a megaraptoran. However, it was found that the fossil formations of these two genera are chronologically separated by about 10 million years, indicating that they might not be that similar.

In which geological period did the Rapator roam the earth?

Rapators are believed to have roamed the earth between 96-105 million years ago. This period in history was part of the Late/Upper Cretaceous Epoch's Early/Lower Cenomanian stage.

When did the Rapator become extinct?

It is estimated the Rapator species went extinct approximately 93.5 million years ago (Late Cretaceous period). The specific reason why the species faced extinction is unknown.

Where did a Rapator live?

These were land-dwelling or terrestrial dinosaurs.

What was a Rapator's habitat?

The Rapator specimen was discovered in Wollaston, Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, Australia. Based on the discovery, the Rapator habitat was Cenomanian estuary/bay claystone present in the Griman Creek Formation.

Who did a Rapator live with?

The Rapator genus was a solitary species.

How long did a Rapator live?

The Rapator species' lifespan has yet to be determined.

How did they reproduce?

Rapators were oviparous, which means that they reproduced by laying eggs. There is no information available about their mating habits, nesting style, or other reproductive details.

Rapator Fun Facts

What did a Rapator look like?

Rapator ornitholestoides (Von Huene, 1932) fossil was found in Australia, a country where not many dinosaurs have been recovered. This is attributed to its harsh landscape, which results in the discovery of low-quality dinosaur remains. Some paleontologists believe the Rapator was a robust bird-like ornitholestid. It could have been as large as an Allosaurus, but the relationship between these two genera has yet to be established. The species could have had feathers and belonged to the genus Alvarezsauria.

In 1932, Friedrich von Huene discovered a single left finger bone belonging to the Rapator. This little specimen served as the foundation for the species' physical description. With a length of 2.8 in (7 cm), the hand bone had only one cotyle on the upper end, a characteristic of metacarpal morphology.

The finger bone was remarkably similar to that found in Ornitholestes hermani, a dinosaur from North America. The metacarpal bone of the Rapator had an elongated posteromedial process present in Ornitholestes hermani. However, more studies revealed subtle differences between the metacarpal bone. The Rapator's hand bone was larger and broader in length, it was sturdier and had a prominently developed posteromedial process. These differences separated these two genera or groups.

After the discovery of the Australovenator, a new confusion arose regarding the taxonomy of the Rapator. The finger bone of the Australovenator was quite similar to the Rapator bone. This similarity led paleontologists to assume that both the Australovenator and Rapator belonged to the same genus. However, there is a problem in this assumption as both groups have a small fossil size to derive an adequate conclusion. Right now it is believed that they belong to a similar theropod. But having lived almost 10 million years apart, they are unlikely to have the same bone structure.

The Rapator's diet is comprised of meat.

How many bones did a Rapator have?

The complete bone structure is unknown. So far, only the theropod's finger bone has been discovered.

How did they communicate?

Paleontologists are yet to discover the way the Rapator communicated with its own and other species.

How big was a Rapator?

The Rapator size was estimated to be around 30 ft (9.1 m) long. This size estimate has been made on the assumption that the Rapator grew as big as the Australovenator. It was bigger than Ornitholestes hermani, a North American counterpart, who was estimated to be around 6.6 ft (2 m) long.

How fast could a Rapator move?

Aside from the fact that the Rapator is an actively mobile species, little is known about their speed and agility.

How much did a Rapator weigh?

The Rapator species' body weight has yet to be determined.

What were the male and female names of the species?

The two sexes of the species are referred to as Rapator.

What would you call a baby Rapator?

A Rapator baby is known as a hatchling or nestling.

What did they eat?

This genus was a carnivorous theropod. The Rapator diet is unknown.

How aggressive were they?

Although there is no clear evidence of their aggression level, it is likely that the Rapator was aggressive. The Rapator species meaning translates to 'thief' or 'plunderer' and it was also a carnivore. Such species of dinosaurs were usually aggressive.

Did you know...

Friedrich von Huene who named the Rapator species was a German paleontologist.

BMNH R3718, a 3D body fossil, is the Rapator's type specimen.

The type specimen- BMNH R3718 is displayed at the Natural History Museum of London in the United Kingdom.

A study of the metacarpals belonging to Australovenator and Rapator was conducted by Dr. Matt White.

How did the Rapator get its name?

Rapator ornitholestoides' (Von Huene, 1932) name is actually considered a spelling mistake. As the word 'Rapator' is not part of Classical Latin, even was rarely used in Medieval Latin. Von Huene may have been referring to 'Raptare', which in Latin means 'to plunder'. Thus, it should have been Raptor which translates to 'thief'. The theropod species type was named so because the finger bone fossil remains resembled that of Ornitholestes, a North American dinosaur. The meaning of Ornitholestoides is 'Ornitholestes-like'.

Whats unique about the Rapator?

The fossil remains of the Rapator had turned into opal i.e. opalized. In 1909, the fossil was discovered by Tullie Cornthwaite Wollaston, an opal dealer. Rapator is considered from the same genus as the Walgettosuchus, known from its opalized vertebra. Kakuru is another Australian dinosaur whose bone was opalized.

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

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable dinosaurs riding a motorcycle coloring pages.

Main image by Cameron Spahn

Second image by Slate Weasel

Rapator Facts

What Did They Prey On?


what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?


How Much Did They Weigh?


Skin Type


How Long Were They?

30 ft (9.1 m)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name

Rapator ornitholestoides

What Were Their Main Threats?


What Habitat Did They Live In?

Terrestrial habitats

Where Did They Live?

New South Wales, Australia
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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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