We love dinosaurs here at dinosaur facts for kids, teaching them learning about them and watching them. However, we would very rarely call any dinosaur cute looking. Puppies they are not!
However there are some that perhaps are more cute than others and we take a look below at some of the cutest dinosaurs both in reality, and how they have been shown in the media.
With a range stretching from towering giants to little critters smaller than a modern-day chicken, they are plenty to chose from and we have chosen 15 of the cutest dinosaurs – you can see if you agree or not!
In this article, we’ll explore our collection of adorable prehistoric creatures that might make you reconsider the common image of dinosaurs as giant, fearsome beasts!
Before we do that lets take a look at what might make a dinosaur cute!
What Makes a Dinosaur Cute?
When it comes to cuteness, what are we really talking about? Scientists and animal lovers alike generally agree that certain characteristics that can inspire our affection.
- First, size: smaller, or baby animals often strike us as cute – and they are less threatening of course!
- Proportions play a significant role too; a large head compared to the body, and large eyes compared to the head can often melt our hearts.
- Facial features, such as a short snout or a rounded face, often add to the cuteness factor,
- Behavior – a creature that’s playful or gentle or at least looks like it might be, can easily win us over.
- Fluffiness – feathers and fur can definitely add to the cuteness factor and although we don’t think of fluffy dinosaurs there may have been more than we think!
- Familiarity – seeing cute ( for a dinosaur) in media can help us visualize how these looked in real life and develop our affection for them.
Let’s keep these criteria in mind as we dive into our list of the top 15 cutest dinosaurs. Get ready to go “aww” at some surprisingly endearing prehistoric creatures!
Why Dinosaur Babies Would Have Been Cute
Just like with modern animals, dinosaur babies or hatchlings were likely exceptionally cute. Being miniature versions of their parents, with larger heads in relation to their bodies and eyes that appeared oversized.
The very idea of a tiny dinosaur toddling around and learning the ropes of its prehistoric world triggers our instinctive affection.
Some theories suggest that baby dinosaurs were covered in a downy fluff, similar to baby chicks, and lets face it baby chicks are very cute – chicken less so! So we try to use adults rather than babies in our cute dinosaur list and most baby animals are cute! ( not the mole rat! though)
So lets look at 15 of our cutest dinosaurs!
15 of the Cutest Dinosaurs
The Citipati is known for its striking resemblance to modern birds, kind of a mix between a parrot and an Ostrich!. It was a type of Oviraptor, which means ‘egg thief,’ but don’t let the name fool you into thinking it wasn’t cute.
Its round body, short face, and large eyes, combined with its presumed protective behavior towards its eggs, makes this dinosaur our number one cutest dinosaur.
Now we have to be honest here there are two other personal reasons for giving it the number one spot on the cutest dinosaur list. I am a teacher and used to read a book with my students that had a Citipati in it and it was the cutest picture! I cant show you but there is a link to the book below.
and, the name is cute to say, whether you say it Chit-EE-pat-ee, or Sit-ee-pat-ee, it is cute both ways! Others may look cuter, but this has a special place in our hearts!
2: Mei Long
Named ‘sleeping dragon’ in Chinese, the Mei Long is a small dinosaur that’s known for being found fossilized in a sleeping position, much like a bird. Although it died like that ( which is not a cute thought) it shows us a dinosaur that snuggled up and rested just like birds today
With its tiny size and bird-like characteristics, it’s easy to see why this dinosaur could be considered cute. Imagine it curling up to sleep, with its wings wrapped around it and you can see why its number two on the list of cutest dinosaurs. That and the name is very cute as well – both in English and Chinese!
Although at first look a member of the ankylosaurus family doesn’t seem to have a lot going for it cuteness terms, and not deserving of a place on a list of the cutest dinosaurs – but the Liaoningosaurus is a little different. Firstly it is one of the few dinosaurs believed to have been able to live both on land and in water, like a scaly otter (which are cute!) or modern turtles.
Unlike its 30 ft long family member ankylosaurus is was much smaller in size, between 30-45 centimeters or 1-1.5 feet. It belonged to the Ankylosaur family but had unique features, like longer legs and webbed feet.
This unusual dinosaur likely had a bony armor, much like its relatives, but the thought of a miniature, partially aquatic Ankylosaur swimming about is definitely cute!. Unless you are a small fish that is, as fossils have shown fish bones inside its stomach! So we are confident putting an Ankylosaur on our list of cutest dinosaurs.
With a name that literally means ‘Bambi thief,’ the Bambiraptor brings to mind images of large eyed baby deer. This dinosaur was small and agile, and scientists believe it was covered in feathers.
We have it on the list as the fossil is a juvenile and with Bambi being possibly the cutest Disney character ever it certainly adds cute points!
Although it reality this dinosaur was probably a toothy pint sized killing machine, the name and the feathers put it at number four on our cutest dinosaur list. It’s like imagining a dinosaur version of a playful, fluffy kitten – before it turns into a tiger that is.
This small dinosaur’s large eyes, that aside from being very cute, evolved to help it to survive in low-light conditions, make it a strong candidate for cuteness. The Leaellynasaura also had a long (up to 3 times as long as its body, fluffy tail, which would have made it appear even more adorable.
Picture an oversized chipmunk-sized dinosaur( about 3 feet long) scampering around with a big, bushy tail, ( to be proven ) and the Leaellynasaura certainly seems cute
To put the icing on the cute cake, Leaellynasaura was named after the 8 year old daughter of an Australian scientist. that’s too much cuteness for one dinosaur! Even if their tails were not quite as fluffy as in the picture! Definitely one of the cutest dinosaurs
With this dinosaur, best known for its rounded, dome-shaped skull, giving it a distinctive look that may strike some as cute. we are being influenced by the media.
Prenocephale ( the first pachycephalosaur on the cutest dinosaur list) recently made its appearance in the Prehistoric Planet 2 documentary and scooting around around the tree truck legs of the huge Alamosaurus sauropods, although being eaten by a pack of velociraptors was definitely less cute
Its head shape, coupled with its small ( 7.2 feet long) stature, and the fact it walked on two legs, lends the Prenocephale an odd yet cute appearance. Also, it’s believed to have been a gentle – for a dinosaur – herbivore, adding to its cuteness
The Juravenator, or “Jura hunter,” was a small, tiny even, dinosaur from the late Jurassic period. Its compact size and seemingly nimble nature might already suggest a degree of cuteness. it was about 75 cm or 2 feet long. ( though this was likely a young dinosaur)
Fossil evidence suggests it also had patches of feather-like structures, adding a softer, fluffier side to this little predator.
Imagine this little creature, half sleek and agile, half soft and fluffy, darting through its prehistoric world, and Juravenator certainly deserves a place on the list of cutest dinosaurs – at least when it was young!
Named the “parrot lizard” due to its parrot-like beak, the Psittacosaurus is often seen as one of the cutest dinosaurs. This small, bipedal herbivore had a robust body and walked on two strong legs, perhaps moving about in an endearing, bustling manner. Its skull bore large eyes, adding to the overall cuteness effect.
The most adorable features, though, were likely its beak, shaped much like that of a modern parrot and its almost peacock ( maybe) tyope featers on its tail!
It helps that it was about as tall as a medium sized dog, making it like a lumpy bumpy puppy!
10:Chaoyangsaurus: This small herbivore was one of the earliest members of the ceratopsian group, which included the Triceratops.
With its stout body, relatively large head, and beak-like mouth for munching on plants, the Chaoyangsaurus certainly checks the boxes for cuteness.
At one metres long and with out the huge horns and frills of its later family members like triceratops it was certainly cuter than they were! and although not entirely feathered and fluffy its appearance does give it a place in our cutest dinosaurs top ten.
The Micropachycephalosaurus, despite having the longest dinosaur name, – we looked at one of the shortest dinosaurs names with Mei above, was actually quite small.
Known for its thick skull, it was likely an herbivore. Its size, distinctive head, and bipedal – two legged – stance can certainly lend themselves to an appearance of cuteness.
Plus, there’s something inherently charming about a dinosaur whose name is so grand for such a little creature.
it was also much smaller than it’s relatives and its namesakes at about 3 feet long and this as well as its appearance rounds out the 10 cutest dinosaurs.
11: Moros Intrepidus
Moros is the second of the media influenced cutest dinosaurs we are looking at. its cuteness pretty much solely, comes from how it looks in both the movie Jurassic World Dominion and the computer game Jurassic World Evolution.
In these it is a 2 foot long fluffy ( though with an attitude) predator and is begging to be made into a soft toy!
in reality this cuteness stops at the cinema door. Moros was not in fact 2 feet long, it was human sized standing about 5 feet tall and about 170 lbs. in weight. it was also an early relative of the T-Rex – and although we can say a lot of things about a T-Rex cute is not one of them! Still in the Jurassic World movies at least it was one of the cutest dinosaurs.
The Nanuqsaurus, a smaller relative of the T-Rex, resided in what is now Alaska. Despite being a carnivore, its size, about half the length of a T-Rex, lends it a certain level of charm though we need more to give it a place on a cutest dinosaur list.
Like the Yutyrannus is is though to have been feathered to protect it from the bitter cold, but being smaller than it, it wins over its bigger feathered relative. Still we think it would look cuter from a distance though…
That coat of feathers was used to survive in the cold Arctic climate, and although we don’t know the color of them, or even have definitive proof ( at the time of writing) the name Nanuqsaurus means Polar bear Lizard. So we cant help but think of it as a white feathered dinosaur -Cute!
Picture a smaller, fluffier version of the T-Rex, braving the icy weather, and the Nanuqsaurus can easily be seen as one of the cutest dinosaurs.
The Carnotaurus, or ‘meat-eating bull,’ might sound intimidating with its large body and horn-like features, but aspects of its appearance can lend a certain charm. For instance, it has unusually small arms, even compared to the famous T-Rex. it was scaley mean looking and a fast meat eater so why did we put it on a list of cutest dinosaurs?
It is another dinosaur that has been shown to be cute in the media, ( though not in the Jurassic world movie) However in Prehistoric Planet 1 it is shown with tiny little blue arms waving about to try to impress a female carnotaurus. if there is a cuter dinosaur video than this I have not seen it yet.
So we have it on our list of cutest dinosaurs, but lower down – as it was a ferocious meat eater after all – and its cuteness seems to be saved for the ladies!
And two cute dinosaurs that were not dinosaurs!
Although technically not a dinosaur but a prehistoric crocodile, the Simosuchus is known for its peculiarly cute characteristics. Nicknamed the “pug-nosed crocodile,” it had a short, blunt snout that looks very different from the elongated jaws we associate with modern crocodiles.
Its small size, stocky body, and unique face certainly make it an intriguing and charming candidate in the realm of cute prehistoric creatures. oh and unlike other crocodiles it was a herbivore!, so on top of looking cute it wouldn’t be interested in eating you!
Although not widely known the first episode of Prehistoric planet 2 – islands, shows a family of Simosuchus scurrying about and running away from a Majungasaurus! its fast little legs, and its cute appearance make it an honorary mention for a cutest dinosaurs list
The Lystrosaurus, or ‘shovel lizard,’ was not a dinosaur but a dicynodont – an early relative of mammals. Still, its unique appearance can be viewed as cute. It was small and squat, with a face that resembled a cross between a pig and a turtle. Not really a good mix for cutest dinosaur list – on face value ( ha!)
However, the mental image of this creature moving in a waddling manner across the terrain might just bring a smile to your face. Why do we have it on the Cutest dinosaur page though.
We include this from a cut scene in Jurassic World dominion, where it actually bites the head off an Oviraptor! Not this is certainly not cute behavior but its slow moving almost funny behavior is – up until is does this of course!
Although it is a born survivor as we discuss here.
Cute Dinosaurs in the Media!
Our thoughts of what a dinosaur looks like, let alone a cute one, are heavily influenced by how they look in popular media. We have already mentioned how Prehistoric Planet showed us baby dinosaurs in a documentary and Jurassic Park / World showed us dinosaurs in different sizes
Well dinosaur cartoons and dinosaur pictures go much further in making dinosaurs look cute!
Artists and animators often use the principles of “neoteny” – that is, they emphasize juvenile characteristics like big eyes, round bodies, and large heads to make these prehistoric creatures appear more lovable, even dinosaurs like T-Rex and Carnotaurus are turned into a cute dino. ( check out the cartoon version below as an example!
One iconic example is the “Littlefoot” character from the animated film “The Land Before Time“. With his large, expressive eyes and round body, Littlefoot is undeniably cute.
Similarly, the baby dinosaur named “Bumpy” from the series “Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous” boasts a pair of oversized eyes and a disproportionate head, giving him the “aww” factor. although he does grow up!
These protrayals, while not scientifically accurate, make us see dinosaurs not just as giant, awe-inspiring beasts, but also as cute, approachable, and relatable characters. So we can be thankful they are extinct and people are not rushing to pet a 10 ton Ankylosaurus!
Hopefully you agree with some of the dinosaurs on our cutest dinosaurs list, but as the saying goes “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” so you may well have your own list or ideas for what made a dinosaur cute!
Feel free to let us know what you think the cutest dinosaur is in the comments below 🙂
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.