Suppose a client managed to steal an egg from a Gorgosaurus (related to T-Rex) nest through some daring tactics and luck in the late Cretaceous Period using an unique phone booth which is actually a time machine.

How can I successfully keep this dinosaur in my lawn using modern day commercially available products from any legit hypermarket with a tight budget of USD$200,000 raise from crowd funding? What other things do I need to know about animal husbandry to successfully keep this seemingly adorable animal. Disregard breeding for now as it will be featured in future updates.

Handwavium is applied to time traveling ability only.

Difficulty: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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    $\begingroup$ A unique phone booth that is actually a time machine? It couldn't possibly fit all the machinery required! And it's not like it can be bigger on the inside or something >:( Love this question, +1 $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Oct 22, 2016 at 14:37

1 Answer 1


There is some good news for you and some bad.

Good news being that you chose to bring back a reptile and better yet, a carnivorous reptile. How is this a good news? Well, for a start, bringing a fish or amphibian would require mimicking its natural environment very precise or else it would die. Reptiles are quite hardy and have great adaptability. Furthermore, being a carnivore means you don't have to puzzle out too much what and what not it might like to eat.

This means that as far as feeding goes, you are fine. Try and feed with fish or bird meat and refrain from feeding it with mammalian meat as much as you can. The reason for this would be explained further ahead.

Next comes the issue of temperature. You have not specified where you (as in, the main character) resides, so I cannot know what is the climate where you live. Point being that you would want to keep the animal from too low temperatures. Although it is a strong possibility that your predator is warm blooded, but it is still no excuse to keep it it the outdoors during winter months. You would most certainly want to build a large hall for its winter residence.

The most difficult thing about the animal is going to be its health. Pathogens have come a long way of evolution since the extinction of dinosaurs and it is more than likely that your animal does have natural immunity to a lot of germs which are going to be everywhere around it. That is why I suggested not feeding it mammalian meat. Being closest related to birds, it would probably exposed to lesser unfamiliar pathogens than feeding it mammalian meat which might contain a lot of pathogens completely new to it. You would definitely want to hire a full time vet for your animal. Or at least hire a vet to visit it everyday, once in the morning and again in the evening.

Breeding two of those might turn out to be much more dangerous and complex than you would initially expect. Mating is a dangerous matter for most wild animals, more so for predators. If the girl does not like the guy, she would probably end up killing him, as in most predatory dinosaurs, the females used to be larger than the males.

Edit To Add

While I have tried to answer some concerns about keeping a dinosaur (or any large prehistoric animal), it is very hard to provide accurate estimates of budget required for the venture. The reasons being:

1- The concerns posted here are based on our understanding of dinosaurs, their physiology and pathology. If the creature turns out to have other concerns, it might add a lot more to the budget than previously calculated.

2- Market prices vary all over the globe. Meat prices vary a lot, too. And that (food) is going to be one of the primary long term expenses. While I might be able to provide with a good estimate about how much food the animal would require, I would be unable to tell how much it would cost.

3- The same point about market prices (and labor prices) holds about building a large enough containment for the creature. While I can (and would further in my edit) try and come up with some general estimates about the containment size, I would not be able to tell how much it would cost the person. For example, it would be rather easy to keep the thing if one was living in semi-desert or woodland region than in the heart of a metropolis.

Now I will try and fill in the gaps which have been left unintentionally in my post above.

How much food will it require?

Thankfully, this is (somewhat) easy to estimate. I recall listening in several documentaries about dinosaurs that a grown up T-Rex would require 60 kg of meat everyday to survive with no high-exertion activities (like long chases, fights or breeding). Considering that T-Rex was much larger (a difference of 4 meters) than a Gorgosaurus, the food estimates would go down geometrically. A quick google search tells me that a grown up female T-Rex probably weighed in the neighborhood of 8000 kg (source). And T-Rex were in the neighborhood of 13 meters (42 feet) when fully grown. A fully grown Gorgosaurus was about 32 feet in length. This means a Gorgosaurus should weigh no more than 4000 kg or so. In fact this about.com article estimates the mass to be in the neighborhood of 3000 kg!. Keeping in mind that food requirements are based on mass and not length, and that a fully grown Gorgosaurus is about half (going for the highest estimates) the mass of a fully grown T-Rex, it would require 30 kgs of meat a day.

I am uncertain whether it would be a better idea to feed your animal with mammalian meat or bird meat. The people in the comment section make sense (that mammalian pathogens would be less likely to invade a dinosaur), but you would also need to consider than since birds have evolved from theropods and that birds have come a long way of evolution since dinosaurian times, it is highly likely than a healthy bird's meat would be nearly completely free of all pathogens which could make a dinosaur sick.

To sum it up, just go with cow or goat meat, whichever is easier to find and costs lesser.

Also keep in mind that in case you are keeping a female, you would also want to add high calcium foods in its diet before its mating season begins. It would need this calcium for eggs. Probably adding crushed egg-shells in its diet would be enough.

How much space would it require?

This might be a breeze (in terms of expenses) or a complete impossibility, depending on where you live. Larger animals require larger areas. An enclosure of 100 meters x 100 meters would be enough to keep the animal satisfied, if not happy.

But how much would it cost to rent out 100x100 space in a city? Far beyond your budget actually. I don't know where you (the main character) resides, but I am pretty certain cities are far expensive than rural areas when it comes to residence. If you are dedicated about bringing up your predator, you would want to settle in a rural area for the next 6-7 years. This is a great place to keep the animal free of all the noise and smoke and enable a large enough enclosure for it. It would also help with cheaper and fresher meat supply.

You would want to build your enclosure with high, thick walls. We are talking about 15 feet tall, 4 feet thick, concrete walls. The animal would probably be unable to break through a 2.5 feet thick concrete wall too, but it's better to be safe, than sorry. This could mean a lot of expense for you.

I think a better option might be to actually dig out a 15 feet deep trench in 100x100 area and use simple bricks on the walls. You can leave the floor as it is (earth). This would be much more practical approach than building castle-style walls for your enclosure. This would also free you of the need to build very strong gate(s) for your enclosure, further reducing costs. You would want to build titanium-allow ladders to lead down into the trench.

How long will it take?

This handy article tells me that a T-Rex would reach maturity in about 20 years. Judging wrt mass and size, a Gorgosaurus would require nearly 14-15 years to reach maturity.

This means that your food expenses would be proportionately lesser during all the years (about 10 years) while the chick is growing and has not reached maturity. A rough estimate would be that for the first 9 years, it would require almost an equal amount of food (in kgs) as its age in years. As in, after it first year (when it would require no more than 700 grams per day), it would require 2 kgs per day at age 2 years, 3 kgs per day at age 3 years and so on, until it reaches 9 years of age (9 kgs per day) when it would begin a growth spurt, disproportionately increasing its food requirement from 9 kgs per day to 30 kgs per day within 5 years. This is an educated guess by me, based on the growth patterns of T-Rexes (to which the creature is related). The estimate might vary by ±2 kgs per day for the first 9 years.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree with your answer but you could address budget which was a concern for them, ex. how much space would a 30 ft long 10 ft tall reptile need, how much does it cost to excavate that much land from the yard and pour that much concrete, how much would it cost to mimic the biome it resides in (flood plains) etc $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Oct 22, 2016 at 19:07
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    $\begingroup$ your point about pathogens is good. Although I would do gene screening first and try to guess which pathogens it may or may not have resistance for. It my happen that feeding cow's to it is better idea, and it is easier to get needed amount of meat. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Oct 22, 2016 at 20:21
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    $\begingroup$ The bacteria have evolved to attack birds, mammals not TRex's so it wouldn't get diseases easily. Diseases match their hosts but hosts have to repel unknown diseases. $\endgroup$ Oct 22, 2016 at 22:43
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    $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg grass provided WAY less energy and nutrients per weight than meat do, so 100 pounds of meat are probably as energetic than 300 or 400 pounds of grass. $\endgroup$
    – SJuan76
    Oct 23, 2016 at 1:43
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    $\begingroup$ T-rex is more like a bird than a reptile. Comparing it with modern reptiles is not right. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Oct 23, 2016 at 4:21

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