Maybe show the kids out of the room for this one. Read on with caution.
Just hold on for one second while we crash a wrecking ball into your childhood and any positive associations you might have had with the cute animal we all know as turtles.
Just a warning, once you read on, you’ll be like “heroes in a half shell, turtle — OMG.”
You’ll notice, watching the various trailers and footage for this weekend’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” that the camera rarely wanders below our reptilian heroes’ hypothetical navels. (Turtles don’t have belly buttons either.) They always have turtle sweatshirts tied around their turtle waists (even ninjas get chilly and appreciate layers, guys) or turtle samurai gear obscuring their nether regions (for turtle fighting, of course) or turtle shadows of strategic turtle darkness.
There is a reason for this.
And the reason for that is that male turtle genitalia is simply horrifying.
I’m warning you now, if you don’t want to be haunted, don’t open the door to this turtle penis ghost-filled room. Don’t walk down the hall. Whatever you do, don’t go downstairs.
OK, you’ve been warned. Before you get upset, just remember: this is science.
You will not be able to un-see this:
Surprise! Turtles have enormous, terrifying junk.
But turtles look so gentle! So kind! So innocent!
Flip that sucker over.
Just like humans, turtles have penises that get erect and increase in size. What’s bananas is just how much they grow. According to Scientific American, “As a turtle’s penis inflates, its length may increase by nearly 50%, its width by 75%, and its depth by 10%.”
Guys, that’s. That’s a lot.
Turtle penises can also be roughly half the length of the turtle’s overall body, and they’re usually black, purple or dark grey in color. We can’t move on from this too quickly: Half the length of their body.
That’s not to mention that the same Scientific American article refers to the penis retractor muscles as “physiologically rugged.” Picture arm-wrestling a turtle’s penis. You may or may not win.
And guess what? Softshell turtles shoot semen out of four different openings. That’s some real crazy daisy action there. (The details differ among different kinds of turtles.)
Oh, and the tips of their penises can kind of expand and contract and move independently of the rest of their turtle bodies. They kind of look like the underside of mushrooms, if mushrooms were alive and sort of menacing and sometimes had a spike growing out of one side. Yikes.
And that’s not all. As it turns out, a cross-section of a turtle’s penis looks an awful lot like, well. We’ll just show you.
While we think we’re probably the first to notice the eerie scientific cousin of the turtle mask, we’re certainly not the first to make the observation that turtles have a real undercarriage situation. The turtles themselves have noticed.
Noel Fisher, who plays Michelangelo in the new movie, said that he was aware of the general physiology of turtles, calling it “terrifying” and voicing his support for the Ken doll-ing of the animals for the movie. (Just remember, most turtles don’t have ninja skills or speak fluent English, either.)
“Turtles are hardcore,” Fisher told MTV News. “I think they want to keep this movie open for younger people to see, so I don’t think that would fit in all that well.”
He then added that he was going to be “on guard for randy turtles from now on.”
As we all should.