Top 14 Interesting Pets That Look Like Dinosaurs


Pets are common in many households today and are even considered family members. Aside from regular domestic animals like dogs, cats, fish, etc., there are quite a few exotic animals that can be your cuddle buddy. And some of these share a striking resemblance to the famous prehistoric dinosaurs that once ruled the earth. The best part – these look-alikes can actually fit in your house.

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • Some of the most amazing pets that look like dinosaurs
  • Their biological names
  • Ancestry with real dinosaurs

Ready to sink your claws in?

1、The Intelligent Woodlizard

Scientific name: Enyalioides binzayedi


(source: by Venegas P, Torres-Carvajal O, Duran V, Queiroz K)

This Woodlizard species was recently discovered in the rainforests of Peru. It has bright colored scaly skin and spikes that run from the top of its head down its back. Its eyes resemble those of the velociraptor – an intelligent dinosaur portrayed in the Jurassic Park movies. It’s for this reason that the reptile is dubbed the intelligent Woodlizard.

2、Pink Fairy Armadillo

Scientific name: Chlamyphorus truncatus


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The Pink Fairy is the smallest Armadillo species, and is certainly the cutest of the pack. Other kinds like the giant armadillo, which can grow up to 150cm, including tail length. Some species like the three-banded armadillo are capable of rolling themselves completely into a ball.


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Armadillos generally possess a bony exterior, which creates an appearance similar to dinosaurs. It was recently discovered that these animals do not only look like dinosaurs but may actually be related to them. Studies have confirmed that they are relatives of glyptodonts – mammals with huge armored backs that went extinct during the ice age.


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3、Rhinoceros Iguana

Scientific name: Cyclura cornuta


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The dinosaur species find a very similar representation in modern-day lizards since they share the same endoskeletal bone structures, as well as plates and scales on the skin. The Rhino Iguana is even more similar in appearance to dinosaurs given its dark skin and bumpy facial structure.

Rhino Iguanas are herbivorous and adapt well in captivity. They are found on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola and are a species in danger of extinction.

4、The Helmeted Hornbill

Scientific name: Rhinoplax vigil


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Here is one of the most striking birds that look like dinosaurs. They have vibrant colored beaks and reptile-like skin around their throat. Their signature feature is a solid lump of keratin that protrudes at the top of the bill and extends to the skull. This helmet-like casque makes up approximately 11% of the Helmeted Hornbill’s weight.

They are found in the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo, the Malaysian Peninsula, Thailand, and Myanmar. The bird’s unique call resounds like maniacal laughter, and they are becoming extremely endangered as they are frequently poached for their horns.

5、Jackson’s Three Horned Chameleon

Scientific name: Trioceros jacksonii


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Although similar to dinosaurs, this animal is a far cry from the giant terrifying creatures portrayed in the popular Jurassic world movies. The Jackson chameleon resembles the Triceratops with three horns and a plate structure at the back of its head. We can see the replica lifelike Triceratops right here.


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These chameleons possess 360-degree vision, a prehensile tail, and the signature long, sticky tongue. They are 18 inches long at the most and are a fantastic option to keep as dinosaur-like domestic pets. However, they are easily stressed and require a bit of expert knowledge in reptile care. Their ideal living environment is within tree stalks, and they are insectivores.

6、Domesticated Chicken

Scientific name: Gallus gallus domesticus


There are many prehistoric animals that are still alive today, at least genetically. But some are much closer than you think. Research has shown that chickens share genetic makeup with the vicious T-rex. Alongside ostriches, they are the most closely related animals to dinosaurs.


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As one of the most populated bird species in the world, chickens are commonly kept as farm animals. They generally feed on seeds and grains and are also easy to handle for private owners. These feathery creatures may not be the go-to option but they are some of the best pet birds for kids.

7、Australian Emu

Scientific name: Dromaius novaehollandiae


The Emu is quite similar to the ostrich and is the second tallest bird in the world, coming right behind the latter. Their scaly three-toed feet could easily be confused for those of actual dinosaurs. They stride along just like the two-legged theropods seen in the Jurassic movie series, and fossil studies have found incredible DNA similarities between this flightless bird and dinosaurs. 


They aren’t simply modern animals that look like dinosaurs. Emus have walked the earth for over 66 million years. It may not be so easy to keep an Emu as a pet in your back yard, but they’re a good reminder of what dinosaurs looked like when you’re not watching dinosaur movies, that is.

8、Shoebill/Whale-Headed Stork

Scientific name: Balaeniceps rex


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It gets its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill, which features a hook at the end that is similar to the bone structure of the velociraptor. They communicate by clattering their bills together. This creates a sound that has been compared to the rattling of a machine gun.

With heights as high as 5 feet, the shoebill can look menacing, but they are quite docile with humans. They feed on smaller animals like catfish, lizards, and even baby crocs.

9、Sea Turtles

Scientific name: Chelonioidea


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Often referred to as cousins of dinosaurs, sea turtles developed over 110 million years ago. They coexisted with the Jurassic creatures and managed to survive extinction. Sea turtles can grow very big, with species like the Archelon recording lengths over 4 meters long and nearly five meters wide from one end of its flipper to the other.

There are several relatively smaller species, of course, and a total of seven kinds of sea turtles can be found today. A fun fact about these reptiles is that they are actually air-breathing and have fully formed lungs. Still, they are able to spend the majority of their time submerged, which indicates the ability to hold their breath for long periods.

10、The Snake-Head Turtle

Scientific name: Chelodina longicollis


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The snake-head turtle is one of the world’s strangest animals that look like dinosaurs. This turtle species has a long-necked appearance, similar to the Brachiosaurus dinosaurs.

They are unable to withdraw their heads directly into the shell. Instead, they tuck their neck in sideways.  Snake-head turtles are said to have diverged from living organisms over 70 million years ago, which was before dinosaurs became extinct.

11、Frilled Neck Lizard

Scientific name: Chlamydosaurus kingie


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The frilled neck lizard uses its frills to scare off predators and make itself look larger than it actually is, much like the Dilophosaurus dinosaur. The frills are often brightly colored with multiple patterns, and it feeds on insects and small vertebrates.

The frilled neck lizard is also able to stand and move on two legs. This bipedal locomotion is another similarity shared with its two-legged dinosaurs.


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12、Green Basilisk/ Plumed Basilisk

Scientific name: Basiliscus plumifrons


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Of all the dinosaur-like creatures on our list, this one has the most myths associated with it. It’s referred to as the king of serpents and is believed to possess a deathly glance. It is also often called the ‘Jesus Lizard’ for its ability to run short distances on water. They are land reptiles but are incredibly good swimmers and can stay submerged for up to an hour.

Plumed Basilisks are usually bright green with yellow eyes and possess a head crest. Males have two additional crests, one down their back and another running the length of their tail. Although they don’t like to be handled much, they are suitable as pets when in the right environment.

13、Red-Eyed Crocodile Skink

Scientific name: Tribolonotus gracilis


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The crocodile skink is often kept as an exotic pet. No doubt, its beautiful eyes, adorned with red rings on the external covering, are one of its most striking features. The crocodile skink bears a resemblance to a dragon, but its dorsal fins that extend all the way down to the tail are also common in many dinosaur species.

Their main sources of nutrition include insects, mealworms, fruit flies, and small crickets, and they require a calcium supplement alongside their regular food. An interesting characteristic of the crocodile skink is that it freezes in the face of danger and often plays dead. So don’t be alarmed just yet, if it appears lifeless.

14、White-Nosed Coati

Scientific name: Nasua narica


(source: by critter. science)

Unlike all other animals on our list, this one has no ancestry or shared taxonomy with dinosaurs. However, if you’re a hard-core fan of prehistoric creatures, you might want to settle for these animals that look like dinosaurs backward.


The above footage shows Coatis moving about but in reverse play. Imagining their tails as long necks and their heads as dino tails, they look like miniature sauropod dinosaurs.

Coatis (or Coatimundis) are classified under the same family as raccoons and are common pets in several parts of Central, North, and South America. Research reveals that while Coatis live about 7 years in the wild, they can live up to 16 years in captivity.


It’s fun to imagine having a dinosaur pet at home. Maybe not the vicious Tyrannosaurus Rex, but the bird-like Archaeopteryx and the spotted Psittacosaurus would have certainly made good companions. Or you can also get the costumes like the characters on the list of 18 Iconic Dinosaur Characters from The Movies, TV, & Games from Onlydinosaurs.

 Although the world of dinosaurs is far gone, there are several animals today that look like or are descended from dinos. Whether larger animals like the Emu or the smallest-sized Chicken, these dinosaur-like animals are worth keeping.

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