Velociraptor Safety

I recently received a letter from Dr. Daniel Snyder, a paleontologist from Knox College, who wanted to share some theories on handling dromeosaurids:

Dear sir,

I have recently been introduced to your Web comic, and I write in great admiration. You have a keen mind and wit, as well as the artistic ability to convey them to the reader (me). Thank you, and keep up the efforts!

I notice that many of your comics revolve around people (including yourself) with a phobia of Velociraptor. This phobia revolves around Velociraptor overcoming some 70 million years of extinction and the geographic barriers between its home and yours, leaping out of the underbrush and/or through the kitchen, and doing unmentionable things to your innards with its teeth and claws.

I see little point in addressing the substance of your fears, as that’s perhaps best to someone more qualified to deal with the human mind. I hold a Ph. D. in vertebrate paleontology and am somewhat more qualified to address the symptoms. To wit, I would like to help you overcome your fears by successfully defending yourself against Velociraptor.

It is widely known in the field of agronomy (e.g., Avery, 2002) that birds are repulsed by methyl anthranilate, a natural compound found in many of the less sweet fruit varieties. Methyl anthranilate has been used (with some success) as a bird repellent on crops. Now, we know (e.g., Gauthier et al., 1988) that modern birds are descended from dinosaurian ancestors, of which one close relative was Velociraptor (ibid.). Much as lab rats respond to drugs like humans, it is entirely possible that Velociraptor will respond to methyl anthranilate as does the common crow or European starling.

Thus, I recommend you carry around a loaded SuperSoaker filled with Concord grape juice. Fresh-squeezed would be ideal, but from concentrate should be effective as well. This will not only have the theoretical asset of protecting you from Velociraptor, it will have the pragmatic asset of protecting you from thirst.

In appreciation of your Web comic efforts, I will happily waive my consultation fee.

Avery, M. L., 2002. Avian repellents. Pages 122-128 in J. R. Plimmer (ed), Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals. Volume 1. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA.

Gauthier, J., A. G. Kluge, and T. Rowe. 1988. Amniote phylogeny and the importance of fossils. Cladistics-the International Journal of the Willi Hennig Society, 4, pp.105-209.

Daniel Snyder, PhD
Knox College


And this makes me think of the can of shark repellent in that Batman movie. Maybe it wasn’t such a silly approach after all …

edit: By the way, as in all my comics, you can just read ‘velociraptor’ as referring not to the beagle-sized dinosaur, but rather as a generic term for whichever dromeosaurid most closely resembles the Jurassic Park animals.  That is, something between a deinonychus and a utahraptor.

198 replies on “Velociraptor Safety”

  1. I, for one, welcome our new dinosaurian overlords.

    btw.. spam protection? since when do I have to do math to be on the interweb?


  2. I have terrible news. I have recently discovered that the climbing wall at my college contains several Velociraptor entry points. I tried Dr. Snyder’s advice, and I put grapefruits near the entrances. The next morning I found Velociraptor droppings that contained grapefruit seeds. Clearly Dr. Snyder’s remedy for our problem did not work. For the most part these Velociraptors have not harmed anyone, aside from a few homeless people (but they don’t count as human beings) which we feed to the Velociraptors so that maybe they will not try to leave the Rec Center. They haven’t figured out the code for the alarm system, which would allow the doors to be opened, but I fear that any day now they will crack the code. They have already hacked into our school’s mainframe, using the computers in the Rec Center, and sent emails containing a link to a Velociraptor entry point. Most spam-blockers keep out the email but if it does make it through, the hyperlink to the entry point is usually disguised as some ad for Anti-Velociraptor cream. Do not click on this ad! Rip your computer from it’s power supply and yank your internet connection from the wall. Smash and burn your computer. Just to be safe, wash your hands afterward. But back to the Velociraptors in our Rec Center. The Velociraptors only seem to come out at night when the Rec Center is on lock down, and they are gone by the time it opens in the morning. The only evidence of them being there is Velociraptor droppings and smudges on the windows… they are testing for weak spots. It is best to stay in your room, with the doors double locked and a chain lock and a shotgun booby-trap and a bucket of urine above the door, answer the door for no one. They may figure out how to use Microsoft Sam on a computer to talk to you. Be sure to always carry a large mirror and floor wax with you; if you find yourself trapped in a room with Velociraptors you can mop the floor and use the mirror to confuse the Velociraptors to run in the wrong direction and slip on the waxed floor, thereby giving you a few more seconds to live.


  3. +1 Chemist has also read complete archives!
    One of my teachrs wears a top hat…hmmm….*pumps weapon*


  4. while raptor red may be terrifying it is a invaluable source of info and required reading at the antiraptor resistance academy


  5. Please, we must all join together in sharing our knowledge to defeat this foe. My college, Tripp Gregory, has created this Group on Facebook to remind all who care enough to secure their homes in the coming months, as you know, raptors are much more active in the hot summer months.


  6. I always thought, originally, that the Velociraptor was a made up idea from the Jurassic Park movie and books. I mean, it’s name even sounded made up to me (Sounding like a “verocious raptor” or something like that.) I’m still not sure – is he saying that it is, indeed, a real dinosaur? Well, no wonder people have phobia’s about them.
    I enjoyed the comment about the shark-repellent from the old Batman movies… man, I would really like to see one of those again!


  7. In my experience working at a wildlife rehabilitation center, birds love grapes. There may be some problem with this theory.


  8. Oh no!!! I can’t believe that is coming from a highly-respectable and intellectual individual. But well we’re entitled to our own opinion. He has made his points and in order to meet at one common point, may be it is best to lower down one’s pride and accept your mistake.


  9. We protest against the clear rasism shown here at xkcd and we object at the author’s methods of racial profiling which leads to the stereotyping of velociraptors as dangerous man-eating predators!

    For your information, none of our party’s delegates have ever tasted homo-sapiens meat nor are we interested in savoring the meat of any apparently intelligent species. We resent any statement that would indicated otherwise!


  10. we area not very good spellers. your human language is awkward, but we’re doing our best.


  11. i have installed a separated water tank filled it up with concord grape juice and connected it to a sprinkler sistem pinting to week poiints on my house like windows chimney, soft spots on the walls and doors, and also on my jard and 5 feet of my drive way, i added a remote controlled sprinkle action and easy access activation buttons throughout the house even children available, and dog/cat…capable, i am still trying to train my ferret , these way if a raptor attacks me and i can run 5 feet from my curb and press the button i will get soaked in a huge blast of concord grape juice, hoping to repel the asailants, and my thirst of running really really fast and fearing for my life…

    there is one economical draw back besides the whole instalation,

    concord grape juice goes stale, some times even ferments, so in the stainless steel water container i had to add sulfite to prevent fermentation, i wonder if this affects its efectiveness, just in case every month i have a new batch sent in and drain the older one and casque it into home made wine


  12. Is there a dionychus? I bet it would be attracted by grape juice, especially the fermented variety.


  13. has it occurred to no-one else that perhaps this is just another example of velociraptor cunning, they are lulling us into a false sense of security with misinformation, then when we pull out our super soaker they will smugly bite our heads off. come on people, you’re smarter than that, these are raptors, they are dangerous.


  14. I have a problem. People I care about think that raptor attacks are a joke! I cannot get them to appreciate the gravity of this and I am really scared. What should I do?

    Also I agree with Will, I think that Snyder is actually just a raptor….


  15. I agree with Will in the statement that this is most likely Velociraptor propaganda, much akin to the rumor that playing dead will save you from bears. They are hunters, cunning and ruthless, more than willing to sit down at a desk and write a nice email to their arch nemesis if it will get him off of their case. The pungent odor of Concord Grape Juice is probably a stimulant for them. Carrying around a Super Soaker full of it would be similar to carrying around and blowing into a Wounded Hadrosaurid Call.
    My question, with the approach of Velociraptor Danger and Safety Awareness Day (VDSAD) so close at hand, is this: How can we properly prepare for those Velociraptors which have taken flight? And no, I don’t mean those pithy renditions of the dinosaurs with feathers and all that junk, but rather the raptors whom have acquired hover boards, perhaps from an unfortunate Marty McFly? Is there nowhere safe?


  16. Ok there is a viscious worm on all of the facebook apps released up to sept 2009 – – we all know the velociraptor mofo’s started it…
    Remember, these velociraptors text each other in flight and tweet on the sly, so keep your jamba juice with the triple methyl anthranilate boost close at hand. If worse comes to worse, we could have Sigourney grab some baby alien eggs, genetically modify our offspring to have the extending secondary jaw with squirting nanoacid – – BRING IT NOW velociraptor, my babies will devour you while watching Barney. Hmmm, my rotisserie is a little too small for a velociraptor carcasse…


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