The triceratops has always been a favourite dinosaur for children and Adults. This dinosaur was one of the largest and most impressive ceratopsian (dinosaurs that had a frill on their heads and ate plants, bushes and trees) dinosaurs.
Triceratops was an herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the late Cretaceous period, about 68 million years ago. The term “triceratops” means “three-horned face”. Triceratops had an elaborate head frill. The frill served as a shield for the neck and head. Triceratops measured up to 30 feet long and weighed 10 tons.
It had three horns on its head – one over each eye and one on its snout. Triceratops was herbivorous and probably ate a variety of plants, including grasses and shrubs. The triceratops lived during the late Cretaceous period, around 68-65 million years ago
Below we have some facts about this dinosaur that will fascinate and educate young dinosaur enthusiasts, some you may know but we hope there is something yo learn from these 30 Triceratops facts as well!
Quick Triceratops facts
Triceratops measured up to 30 feet long and could weigh over 6 tons.
Triceratops had three horns on its head – one over each eye and one on its snout
Tri means three, Cera means horn and tops (different letter in greek) means face. So Triceratops means three-horned-face.
Triceratops was herbivorous, which means it ate plants,
Triceratops could weigh as 12,000-18,000 lbs! (5500-9000 kgs)
The triceratops lived during the late Cretaceous period, which was around 68-65 million years ago
Triceratops has 4 syllables and you say it like this. Try – Seh – Ra – Tops
there is also a fact sheet about triceratops you can print out and collect below for free
25 Facts about The Triceratops
1. Triceratops was one of the largest frilled (Ceratopsian) dinosaurs, it could be up to 30 ft long and from 5,000 to 9,000 lb in weight, that is as heavy as an elephant or two. Its large size made it unmanageable for medium predators but was still at risk from the largest carnivores like T-Rex and Allosaurus.
2. It had a large, bony frill on its head, which may have been used for defence or display. It could have been used to protect the neck from its main predator the T-Rex, and to attract mates by showing how strong, healthy and big it was. Recent studies have suggested it may have been brightly colored, not to hide from predators, but to advertise it was a difficult an dangerous animal.
3. Triceratops had three horns on its head – one over each eye and one on its snout. these could be over 1.2 metres or almost 4ft long! Its nose horn that looks a little like a Rhinos horn could be 12 inches (30 cm or more) these are the longest known horns of any dinosaur and when covered with Keratin may have been even longer.
4. Triceratops gets in name from its face! Although if you don’t speak Greek then its not easy to work out. Tri means three, Cera means horn and tops (different letter in greek) means face. So Triceratops means three-horned-face.
it is also the family name for horned dinosaurs and there are many “ceratops” dinosaurs, including pentaceratops, nasutoceratops, and even wendiceratops.
5. Although the mouth of a triceratops looked a little like an eagle or other bird of prey, it did not eat meat. Triceratops was a herbivore, which are animals that eat only plants, bushes, trees and shrubs and a lot of those about 2-300 lbs of food each day
You can print off 20 of these triceratops facts below on our colorful fact sheet for free!
6. The triceratops lived during the late Cretaceous period, which was around 68-65 million years ago, it lived at the same time as Tyrannosaurus Rex and was one of the prey of the huge carnivore. It was one of the last dinosaurs to become extinct during the aftermath of the K-T asteroid and following climate change event.
.7. Although you can find the fossils still in the ground in Europe and in the USA it is also possible to own one, although not the very expensive full skeletons or heads as they can cost 8 million dollars. However pieces of triceratops bones or teeth for much less.
The teeth are reasonably common as the triceratops had over 800 of them that were constantly replaced as they became worn out!
9. The triceratops has a huge head, one of the biggest ever recorded from any land animal. Including the large frill at the back of its head it could be up to 2.5 metres, or over 8ft long! and it wasn’t just long, The triceratops head could be up to 7ft wide. So if you are thinking of owning a fossil then maybe just a tooth or a bone would be better!
10. The triceratops, the ones found as fossils, was between 8 and 9 meters long from tip of the nose to tail. which is 26 to 30 feet long! That’s almost as long as a bus!
In almost any dinosaur movie you will see a Triceratops in some scene. it has been in the Jurassic Park and World series very regularly. In the first movie however, it featured mainly as being a sick dinosaur!
The newer Jurassic World set of movies have tried to include other dinosaurs from the same families and have included the Nasutoceratops in the latest movie Jurassic World – Dominion.
12. The Triceratops could weigh as much as 12,000-18,000 lbs! (5500-9000 kgs) At the top end it is as much as two elephants! It was the biggest of all the horned dinosaurs ( with the possible exception of the eotriceratops)
Printable Triceratops Coloring Pages (and dinosaur coloring Pages)
13. Like most dinosaurs, Triceratops are thought by scientists to have laid eggs. These eggs were about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide. They were likely guarded by the mother or father before they hatched. It is unknown if triceratops were good parents or if the young had to fend for themselves when born.
14. Although Triceratops was too big for smaller predators like velociraptor, unless they were babies, it did not mean they lived without risks. The larger predators like T-rex, lived in the area at the same time as triceratops
Scientists actually discovered that Tyrannosaurus ate triceratops by studying T-Rex poop and finding the bones from the frill of the Triceratops inside!!
16. The triceratops may have eaten only plants, but that large mouth had upto 800 teeth! this makes them one of the more common fossils to find as they were constantly loosing and replacing them. Triceratops was a very toothy dinosaur indeed! Although it didn’t have the most teeth of any dinosaur that seems to the the Nigersaurus with 1000, it did have 800 of them in its large mouth and they were replaced when they were worn out. These teeth grew in something called batteries, and each battery have 36-40 columns of 5 teeth!
18. Triceratops was first discovered in 1887 and people thought is was a massive prehistoric bison ( a type of cattle) . it took two years to be given a name by O.C.Marsh who also named over 30 other types of Dinosaur including Brontosaurus, Apatosaurus and Barosaurus.
19. Triceratops had a beak like mouth. It was likely used to pull grasses and bushes into its mouth. THe horns on its head, like the tusks of an elephant, could also have been used to push down trees or knock down larger bushes and shrubs.
20. I guess this would depend if there was a T-Rex behind it or not! However, the Triceratops was not built for speed, at least over distance. It was a stocky heavy animal and even though it had think legs it is likely to have moved pretty slowly.
When needed to run though, the best estimates and from about 13-20 miles an hour which is 20 to 32 Kilometres per hour. It is not expected it could maintain these speeds for long distances though.
21. Although there is not mountains of evidence that triceratops lived in large herds there has been recent evidence ( in 2020) that suggests that they lived in groups, maybe not massive herds that all the movies show. Until more fossils are found though the answer is we don’t know for certain.
22. Often states in the USA will “adopt” a Dinosaur as their state emblem. the triceratops is the state dinosaur of Wyoming. Wyoming, along with North and South Dakota and Montana hold the Hells Creek Formation which has been the source of thousands of fossilized dinosaurs.
23. A fossilized skeleton of a triceratops was sold for almost 8 million dollars in October 2021. the skelton was called big John and was 8 metres long. It restarted the debate about whether these type of fossils should be with collectors or in museums so they can be studied by scientists. You can check out the set above to start your own collection of real fossils as well.
24. They actually found that T-Rex used to hunt and eat triceratops by studying the poop of a T-rex and seeing bones from the frill of a triceratops inside it! Dinosaur poop is now fossilized of course so it is rock, you can even buy it quite cheaply! then ask your friends to hold some real dinosaur poop!
25. Although it is in the territory of best guesses, scientists think that the large herbivories probably lived for about twice as long as the predators that hunted them, if they could stay away from their jaws of course. this would make the Triceratops life span at around 50 to 60 years. however there is no concrete proof of this yet.
The Triceratops is a dinosaur that many adults and children are fascinated by. With its three horns and interesting history, there’s a lot to learn about this dinosaur! Hopefully, this article has provided some good information for you all who want to learn more about it.
If you want some more Dinosaur facts you can check out our other articles here, and our questions and answers articles here as well.
Some of My Dinosaur Resource Recommendations for Home and School.
Thanks for taking the time to read our facts and questions articles, as a teacher myself i have struggled to find resources in one place and that is why this website was born. I simply love teaching students about dinosaurs both in my role as a language and General Studies teacher. However there is sometimes a need for something more concrete than a printout (as useful as we think ours are! )
There is something awesome about the feeling of awe that these amazing creatures instil in our children and students. To further help you, and potentially me, i have included a few resources below that i have found to be incredibly successful when explaining dinosaurs to children, these range form books and resources, to toys fossils and dinosaur figures.
Sometimes having something tactile to touch in those tiny hands help to focus and cement learning and develop those big brains! Hope they are helpful too.
Dinosaur Books and Readers
There are of course hundreds of excellent, and not so excellent books on Dinosaurs for Children out there. So rather than, yet, go into huge detail. I will highlight the ones I love to use with my students from ages 6 to 10. We have include AR in these as well. ( nothing quite like a moving dinosaur in front of you!
I cant say how great these are to use in a classroom while reading with a group. the chance to read about a dinosaur and then touch a real piece is simply great. I have a selection ( self confessed dinosaur geek) but a cheap set of 10 or so will do the trick just as well. Dinosaur poop is great as well!!! i pass it round and ask them to guess what it is first!
I actually use realia in a lot of classes especially with animals and dinosaurs, and figures help to show the kind of animal we are reading about. It is possible to spend hundreds of dollars on dinosaur figures but ther eis no need, either as a teacher or a parent. The set below and similar we have used to help students picture dinosaurs to great effect.
Hi, I am Roy Ford a General Studies and English Teacher who has taught all over the world. What started as a fossil collection became a great way to teach, motivate and inspire students of all ages and all over the world about dinosaurs and from that and children’s love of dinosaurs came the site dinosaur facts for kids, a resource for all ages.