The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been a staple of pop culture for over three decades. With 6 movies, 6 TV shows, 6 comic series, over 50 video games, and 2 concert tours to date, the Turtles have been extremely successful and still remain popular to this day.
The history of the Turtles started back in 1984, when Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird where brainstorming while eating pizza and watching television. They came up with a crazy idea of bipedal turtles that were masters of the martial arts.
Taking inspiration from Frank Miller, Eastman and Laird self-published a one-off issue parodying, Daredevil, The New Mutants, Cerberus, and Ronin. Little did they realize that they’re off the cuff creation would go on to become the most significant cultural phenomenon to ever involve turtles.
They began to publish a monthly comic with Mirage Comics, but would eventually move to Image Comics, Archie Comics, and IDW Publishing.
The Archie version of the Turtles would go on to inspire the Turtle's first cartoon, which became a major hit in the '80s and '90s. This led to 3 movies, as well as a concert and a horrifying Christmas special that has been forgotten by most fans.
With so many different creators taking the time to work on the Turtles, there have been many interpretations. Their history, personalities, and abilities have changed countless times.
However, somethings never changed: Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines (that's a fact, Jack), Raphael is cool but crude (gimme a break), Michelangelo is a party dude (Party).
With that said, here are the 20 Crazy Details About The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Bodies.
20 The Ooze That Created Them May Have Blinded Daredevil
The history of the Turtles has changed over time, and thus the infamous ooze that transformed them into warriors and gave them their powers has also been updated a number of times.
In its original incarnation, the mutagen ooze was created by a benevolent race of aliens known as the Utroms.
In other versions, it was a man-made creation that was developed by various organizations. While occasionally it was purposefully made, other times it was created by accident and was never intended to be used on living creatures.
In any case, the green ooze, in some form or another, came in contact with four baby turtles and transformed them into the mean, green fighting machines.
Taking inspiration from Frank Miller’s Daredevil run, Eastman has alluded to the idea that the ooze that created the Turtles is the same substance that blinded Matt Murdock, the Daredevil.
19 Their Shells are bulletproof
Some versions of the Turtles have small slim shells that minimize their cumbersome nature, while other versions see the Turtles with shells that are huge and bulky.
In the 2014 Michael Bay produced movie, their shells are perhaps the largest we have seen.
While size of their shells is integral to their new design, they also serve a particular purpose: they are bulletproof.
In the movie, Turtles' shells are nuch denser and harder than normal shells.
Since they weren't aware of how tough their shells were, at first the Turtles believed that a shot fired at their backs would end their lives. However, they soon learned, along with their assailants, that their shells were strong enough to withstand even bullets.
18 Leonardo Can Heal Himself And Others
Leonardo was always the most mature Turtle. He took Splinter’s lessons and knowledge more seriously and internalized them in away that the others could not or would not.
Splinter recognized this and saw him as a leader of the group. Because of this, he decided to teach Leo how to heal himself and others through the spiritual powers of Ninjutsu.
This is perhaps the closest thing to a superpower that any of the Turtles possess.
Leo is able to heal himself and others from physical injuries, diseases, and even poison.
While battling the estranged daughter of Splinter, Karai, Leo was poisoned with incurable venom. However, through the power of Ninjutsu, Leo was able to instantly cure himself of her poison and defeat her.
17 Raphael And Donatello Were Once Vampires
In the 2012 series, the gang came across many different challenges. One of the most interesting villains that they faced was Dracula.
In fact, they face off against most of the Universal Monsters. Werewolves, mummies and Frankenstein’s monster all take on the Turtles as Dracula attempts to conquer New York City.
In the course of bringing order to the Big Apple, Donnie and Raph are biten and become vampires.
This brings on a new transformation, as the two Turtles grow fangs and have a thirst for blood.
This is perhaps another example of how the Turtles are perhaps more human than they are turtle, since normal turtles do not have teeth. The Ninja Turtles already had teeth and then grew vampire fangs.
16 They Can Duck Into Their Shells
Turtles have the unique ability of hiding in their shell. Because they walk on all four legsand have a large shell, their skeletal structure is different from most animals.
Their spine runs along the top of the shell, which allows them to have a very long neck that can retract into the body. Their body is set up to support its weight differently than bipedal beings.
The Ninja Turtles have displayed this same ability, demonstrating that they must have a similar skeletal structure.
However, this would make it difficult for them to move, as the weight of their body, at least while standing upright, would not be supported by a curved spine.
This would suggest that they have a far more complex skeletal structure than a human or turtle.
15 Donatello Became Cyborg When His Body Was Destroyed
In the Image Comic series, Donatello went through some significant changes. After a battle against cyborgs, Donnie was shot and dropped out of a helicopter.
With his body significantly damaged, Donnie's body merged with one of the cyborgs.
Because of this, there was a risk that Donnie could losing his mind and its control to the CPU in his brain.
After this, there were some changes to his personality, as he became more aggressive. There are several instances in which he has dispatched his enemies without feeling any remorse.
This has also made Donnie one of the more powerful of the Turtles, as he now had permanent armor and blasters that he could use.
14 They are Connected To The Spiritual Plane
On several occasions, the Turtles have had to mediate and connect to the spiritual plane. Whether this was to communicate with Splinter or to face their inner demons, the Turtles have always been able to tap into the other realm.
With the help of Splinter, these rambunctious teens have been able to create a strong connection to the other side.
This i has come in handy when they need guidance but were unable to reach their mentor.
When Splinter was missing, the Turtles stayed at a cabin with April O’Neil and Casey Jones. While there, Leonardo suggested that they mediate for several days in the forest to connect with Splinter and find him.
Thankfully, they were able to successfully connect with him. He then sent them on separate journeys to conquer their own personal challenges and face spiritual enemies.
The Turtles succeed and became stronger both in body and in mind because of this.
13 They May Be Warm Blooded
While this is more a fan theory, there is a lot of evidence to back it up. If the Turtles were still cold blooded, they would behave differently than what we have seen.
For instance, in numerous settings, we have seen condensed warm air exhaled from the Turtles. This only occurs with warm blooded animals because their internal heat source a lot warmer than the outside temperature.
If they were cold blooded, then their body temperature wouldn’t be much higher than their surroundings.
They use blankets instead of heating beds, they shiver, and they sweat. Sweat can only be formed by warm blooded mammals, which would mean that the turtles physiology is far more complex than we thought.
12 Leonardo Lost A Hand
During the 3rd volume of the comics, TMNT was bought by Image Comics. This 3rd volume is no longer considered canon, however, as it deviated from the previous stories and made significant changes to the main characters.
One of these changes involved Leonardo losing his left hand during a fight with King Komodo, a mutated Komodo dragon.
Although the Turtles have incredible healing abilities, they are incapable of growing new limbs.
However, even with the loss of his hand,and the immense pain he was in, Leonardo was not significantly deterred in battle, demonstrating his high pain tolerance.
For a time, Leo had a prosthetic hand that was given to him by Donatello, but ultimately he decided to stop using it.
Instead, he prefers to use a steal cap with a retractable blade.
11 They Are Red-eared Sliders
Before the ooze created the most famous green, pizza-eating ninjas, they were just pet turtles.
To be more specific, they were Red-eared Sliders. While the origin of the Turtles has changed a lot over the last few decades, this is one of the only elements that has remained the same in all incarnations of the Ninja Turtles.
Red-eared Sliders are the most popular pet turtles in the U.S., so it would make sense that the Turtles are the same breed, since they were originally pets.
After the' 90s cartoon, the demand for pet turtles grew.
However, as the popularity of the show diminished, many of the pet turtles where abandoned by their former owners.
In London, many of these pets were left at London Park and, over the years, have grown to be the size of a dinner plate. This caused a major issue since these turtles began to harm the local ducks.
10 They Are Extremely Fast
Turtles are always depicted as being slow creatures. Though most owners of Red-eared Sliders know that theses clunky little reptiles can actually move pretty quickly.
However, the Turtles did not just grow large and maintain their natural abilities when the ooze transformed them - their abilities were enhanced.
This means that the Turtles now became much faster than normal turtles.
For bipedal creatures, they are incredibly fast and agile. This proves helpful in battle and when they must race to get the last slice of pizza.
It is even more impressive when you consider how heavy their shells must be.
They are fast enough to dodge lasers and catch up with moving cars, and thus they certainly dismantle the stereotype of being slow-moving creatures.
Plus, they can dance like no other.
9 They've Used Mutastones to transform and become more powerful
In perhaps the strangest iteration of the Turtles, Mutant Turtles: Superman Legend was a short-lived Japanese cartoon that featured the Turtles with new powers.
After being summoned by the spirit of light, Kris Mu, they were given special crystals called Mutastones.
These stones allowed each Turtle to transform into a super Power Ranger-like fighter for three minutes.
They were taller, sleeker, and supposedly more powerful.
However, if they needed more power, they could activate Saint Mutation. This, like a Megazord, combines all four Turtles in to one super turtle called Saint Mutant, a silver and blue like turtle with metallic wings.
The show only lasted for two episodes but they certainly offer Turtle fans a lot of new content. It is the most unique interpretation in the entire Turtle canon.
8 They've Turned Into Mutant Beasts
The idea of further mutation has been teased here and there. We have seen little iterations, but it was the classic '80s/'90s show that tried to explore the second and final stage of the Turtles' mutation.
While fighting Lord Dregg, an alien overlord created for the cartoon, the Turtles begin to experience a change in their mutation.
At random, they begin turn into giant, beast-like turtles with lighter skin and pointy claws. In fact, they actually resemble the behemoth in Michael Bay's Ninja Turtles movie.
Their mind remains the same but they become far stronger and clumsier than their normal form.
With Splinter's help, they are able to tame their inner mutation and bury it away after a few episodes.
7 They Are Masters Of Stealth
To be a ninja, one needs to be able to blend into their surroundings and become as stealthy as possible.
This has to be difficult for giant green turtles adorned with bright colored bandanas. However, somehow the Turtles can become virtually invisible in ways that would seem impossible.
In The Secret of the Ooze, Raph helps Kato join the Foot Clan at an open try-out in broad daylight. One of the challenges is to remove as many bells as he can in 10 seconds from a mannequin without making any sounds, shrouded in smoke.
While this seems like a difficult task, as soon as the smoke is covering them, Raph is able to sneak into the room, remove every singe bell, deliver it to Kato, and sneak back out.
6 They Can Play The Guitar
In the '90s, the Ninja Turtles were doing a lot of crazy things. Vanilla Ice showed us that they could dance and the 1994 Christmas Special showed us that they could sing reggae inspired Christmas songs.
However, the craziest thing to come out of the '90s was the Coming Out of Their Shells Tour, where jean vest-wearing Ninja Turtles sang songs and shredded their guitars for audiences around the country.
Complete with a power ballad sung by a wise and contemplative Splinter, the Turtles rocked the stage.
However, perhaps the strangest part was that the Turtles where able to play guitar at all.
Guitar chords are played with three to four fingers, but the Turtles only have three fingers on each hand.
5 They're Resistant To Cold
When turtles get cold, their metabolism slows down. Reptiles do not have the ability to regulate their body heat, so their body’s temperature matches the environment that they're in.
When in freezing temperatures, turtles will slow down and hibernate until it warms up. Turtles can even freeze if they're in frozen water and thaw out later.
However, the Ninja Turtles have been shown to wear clothing to keep them warm.
When it's cold, they're able to run around and fight. None of that is indicative of how a turtle should behave in cooler temperatures.
The mutation has allowed the Turtles to regulate body heat and withstand the cold to prevent them from hibernating.
4 They're Extremely Agile
The Turtles have a lot of layers, and what stands out to most are their different and distinctive personalities.
However, every single one of them has been practicing and mastering a skill set in the martial arts since they could walk.
The Turtles are highly skilled individuals and are thus masters in their field.
Consequently, their bodies are toned and conditioned well beyond the abilities of an average man or turtle.
Despite their awkward-looking appearance, the Turtles are quite agile and acrobatic, which allows them to be as effective and as mobile as possible in their battles.
3 Half Of Raphael's Face Was Blown Off
When Archie Comics took over TMNT in the '80s, readers got a glimpse into Raph’s future, as they soon noticed that his left eye was missing.
During a time traveling adventure, the Turtles discover that future Raph lost his eye during a fight with Shredder, Verminator X, and Armaggon.
However, it is later revealed that in every possible future, Raph ends up losing his eye.
In the Image Comics run, Raph unfortunately had an even worse fate. While messing with a defeated cyborg, half of Raph’s face was blown off.
For a time, he wore Casey Jones' mask to cover his disfigurement. However, he later settled on wearing an eye patch.
2 They Can Reproduce
After all the mutations that the Turtles have gone through, it seems most logical that they should not be able to reproduce, as the ooze probably made them infertile.
We've also never seen a direct offspring of any of the Turtles.
However, towards the end of TMNT’s Mirage Comics run, Michelangelo becomes romantically involved with Seri, a Styracondon princess.
The Styracodons are Dinosaur-like alien species from the plant Nurgostu.
After their relationship became more intimate, Seri presented Michelangelo with some eggs, claiming that they are their children.
The fate of the eggs and Seri and Michelangelo's relationship has not been resolved yet, as volume 4 of the series has not been written.
However, if it is revealed that the eggs do hatch and that the children survive, then this will be the first example of the Turtles having any offspring.
1 They Eat A Lot Of Food
It always seems like the Turtles are eating. They are constantly awaiting their next pizza order and munching on various snacks.
On average, a Red-eared Slider can go up to 3 days without food. They do not need a lot of food to survive, but their lives are predominately slow and not very active.
A clear difference between other Red-eared Sliders and the Turtles is that the Turtles are extremely active.
If they are not fighting Shredder or Krang, they are practicing their Ninjutsu.
Considering their size, lifestyle, and the fact that they are teenagers, they require a lot of food to provide them with enough energy to fight.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' bodies? Sound off in the comments!