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First appearance Mario Bros. (1983)
Latest appearance WarioWare: Move It! (2023)

Shellcreepers, sometimes referred to as simply turtles, are green-shelled turtles that first appeared in the Mario Bros. arcade game. They are the first turtle enemies to appear in a Super Mario game, making them the conceptual ancestors of the Koopas, which appeared two years later in Super Mario Bros. It is also shown that Shellcreepers wear undershirts and shorts when outside of their shells; Unshelled Koopa Troopas first appeared in Super Mario World wearing a shirt, and in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island wearing shorts. Several sources such as the trophy descriptions in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U indicate that Koopa Troopas apparently evolved from Shellcreepers.

Gunpei Yokoi created the Shellcreeper after being inspired from watching a cartoon turtle remove its shell. He wanted to create an entire game that focused on removing shells from turtles. That concept eventually developed into the Mario Bros. arcade game.[1] However, Shigeru Miyamoto states that they came up with using turtles during development.[2]


Mario Bros. series[edit]

Mario Bros.[edit]

Sprite of a Shellcreeper from Mario Bros.
Sprite of a turtle from the NES port of Mario Bros.
Sprite of a Shellcreeper in the Atari 2600 port of Mario Bros.
Sprite of a Shellcreeper from the Atari 5200 port of Mario Bros.
Sprite of a Shellcreeper from the Atari 7800 port of Mario Bros.
Shellcreepers as they appear in the original game, NES version, and Atari 2600, 5200, and 7800 versions
Shellcreeper introduction screen in the arcade version

The Shellcreeper is the first enemy to appear in Mario Bros. They are the only enemies to appear before the first bonus round. They walk out of the pipes at the top of the screen and walk towards the pipes at the bottom of the screen. The player must hit it from below through the floor to flip it over and then run into it to defeat it. If the player does not run into it, the Shellcreeper jumps out of its shell (revealing that it wears a white shirt and shorts), flips its shell over, changes color from green to purple and continues moving faster than before. If it flips its shell again, it will turn red, its fastest state. If a Shellcreeper is the last target for the phase, it will automatically turn red. Unlike the similar Koopa Troopa, jumping on Shellcreeper will cause Mario or Luigi to lose a life. Also, Shellcreepers can attack by biting Mario or Luigi with their teeth.

In the NES version, Shellcreepers lack an animation for changing shell colors, and the colors now go from green to red to pink, the last of which also has blue skin. Additionally, in the initial NES release they are smaller than in the original arcade version, though this is no longer the case in later editions.

Starting with the Mario Bros.-style battle mode in Super Mario Bros. 3, Shellcreepers have been replaced by Spinies in all subsequent versions, so they would not be mistaken for Koopa Troopas, which can be jumped on. Despite this, a lone Shellcreeper still makes a cameo alongside a Sidestepper and Fighter Fly on the title screen of the Game Boy Advance remakes of Mario Bros. In Mario Clash, Koopa Troopas are given a similar sprite design to Shellcreepers, and even do the same tooth-baring pose.

Mario Bros. Special[edit]

In Hudson Soft's 1984 sequel of sorts to Mario Bros., Mario Bros. Special, Shellcreepers make a return appearance as enemies, though this time they cannot be stunned by hitting them from below; instead, they can be stunned by jumping on a trampoline that they are on (second stage), jumping on a conveyor belt that they are on (third stage), or killed instantly by jumping over or next to them and hitting a platform, though they will respawn if killed this way. They do not change color or move faster after recovering from a stun.

Punch Ball Mario Bros.[edit]

Shellcreepers appear as an enemy yet again in Hudson Soft's semi sequel to Mario Bros., Punch Ball Mario Bros. The game is much closer to the Mario Bros., and thus Shellcreepers play a much more similar role as they did in that game. The only differences are that they cannot be stunned from below and are instead stunned by Punch Balls or the POW Block. If they get back up after being stunned or are the last enemy on screen, they turn red and speed up.

Mario Power Tennis / New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis[edit]

Shellcreepers in Mario Power Tennis

Shellcreepers, along with the other Mario Bros. enemies, appear in the background of the Mario Classic Court in Mario Power Tennis, where they use their NES sprites. The game's data includes an unused 3D depiction of a Shellcreeper, showing it as a small, quadrupedal Koopa Troopa with clawed flat feet.

Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

SmashWiki article: Shellcreeper

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Shellcreepers appear on the Mario Bros. stage. They walk out from the pipes at the top of the stage. If knocked over by hitting them from below or from an attack, they can be picked up and thrown at opponents, making them fly sideways off the screen. The Shellcreepers also have their own trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

Super Mario series[edit]

Super Mario 3D World / Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury[edit]

Shellcreepers appear in Luigi Bros., an additional game featured in Super Mario 3D World and its Nintendo Switch port. Like the other enemies in Luigi Bros., Shellcreepers behave in the same way as Mario Bros., which this game is based on.

Super Mario Maker[edit]

Mario disguised as a Shellcreeper, standing in front of a Koopa Troopa
A Shellcreeper (left) and a Koopa Troopa (right) in Super Mario Maker

In Super Mario Maker, one of the unlockable playable costumes is a Shellcreeper, using a modified version of its sprite in Kaettekita Mario Bros. It can be unlocked at random after clearing the 100 Mario Challenge on Expert setting or harder. If the player holds +Control Pad up on the GamePad while wearing the costume, the Shellcreeper makes a grimace. While the player runs as the Shellcreeper, its shell turns red.

Other appearances[edit]

In the Family BASIC accessory to the Family Computer, Shellcreepers are programmable sprites. They also make a cameo in the Message Board.

Shellcreepers appear in NES Remix in the challenges and remixes based on Mario Bros.

List of appearances[edit]

Title Description Release date System/format
Mario Bros. Enemy 1983 Arcade
Family BASIC Cameo on the Message Board, programmable sprite 1984 Family Computer
Mario Bros. Special Enemy 1984 PC-8801, PC-6001mkII/PC-6601, PC-9801, FM-7, Sharp X1, Sharp MZ-1500, Sharp MZ-2200, Hitachi S1
Punch Ball Mario Bros. Enemy 1984 PC-8801, PC-6001mkII/PC-6601, FM-7, Sharp X1, Sharp MZ-1500
Kaettekita Mario Bros. Enemy, Notices explainer 1988 Family Computer Disk System
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga Cameo on the Mario Bros. title screen. Also in the Super Mario Advance ports. 2003 Game Boy Advance
Mario Power Tennis Cameo as enemy on Mario Classic Court 2004 Nintendo GameCube
Famicom Mini: Mario Bros. Enemy 2004 Game Boy Advance
Super Smash Bros. Brawl Stage hazard, trophy 2008 Wii
New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis Cameo as enemy on Mario Classic Court 2009 Wii
Super Mario 3D World Enemy in Luigi Bros. 2013 Wii U
NES Remix Enemy/objective in Mario Bros. challenges and remixes. 2013 Wii U
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Cameo as a trophy 2014 Wii U
Super Mario Maker Costume Mario outfit 2015 Wii U
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Stage hazard 2018 Nintendo Switch
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury Enemy in Luigi Bros. 2021 Nintendo Switch
WarioWare: Move It! Cameo in microgame 2023 Nintendo Switch

Profiles and statistics[edit]

Perfect Ban Mario Character Daijiten[edit]

カメさん (JP) / Shellcreeper (EN)
Image of a Shellcreeper
Original text (Japanese) Translation
出身しゅっしん カメ族 Place of origin Turtle clan
性格せいかく さびしがりや Disposition Lonely person
登場とうじょうゲーム ブラザー Game appearances Bros.


The Turtle Tribe's roots are in this character!

It's the originator of the whole Turtle Tribe. Unlike Koopa Troopa, it can't be beaten even if stepped on. Turn it over from under the floor, then kick to beat it. Careful, the last one will speed up.

Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

Appears in:
NES Mario Bros.
GBA Super Mario Advance
How to unlock: Random
Shelled enemies Mario and Luigi faced back when they were plumbers. They had to be bumped from below to flip them over and then kicked off the stage. The last one on a stage changed colors and raced really fast. If one got flipped but not sent off, it would eventually right itself and move at high speed. They were simply called "turtles" in Japan.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U[edit]

Shellcreepers trophy from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Category: Series Related
(Applies only to the Wii U version) Appears in:
ARCADE Mario Bros.
GBA Super Mario Advance
(Applies only to the Wii U version) Trophy Box: 6: Mario Bros.
How to unlock:
With a name that implies silently sneaking up on its prey, the Shellcreeper might be considered cooler than your average turtle. The Koopa is apparently an evolved form of this veteran of Mario Bros. We'd recommend not jumping on this one like you would a Koopa, though... (American English)
With a name that implies silently sneaking up on its prey, the Shellcreeper might be considered cooler than your average turtle. A true veteran from way back in Mario Bros., this guy even predates Koopas, which apparently it evolved into. We wouldn't recommend jumping on this one like you'd jump on a Koopa, though... (British English)


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Shellcreeper.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese シェルクリーパー


Chinese (traditional) 烏龜[4]

French Carapeur
Portmanteau of "carapace" and peur ("fear")
German Schildkröte
Italian Tartaruga
Korean 거북님
Translation of Japanese name

Portuguese Tartaruga
Russian Черепашкин
From черепаха (cherepakha, "turtle") with Russian surname ending -ин (-in)

Spanish (NOA) Trotatuga
From trotar ("trot") and tortuga ("turtle")
Spanish (NOE) Tortuga