We know that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live in the sewer of Manhattan (in New York City). We know that those sewers handle the bodily waste of several million people. There is no possible way that the Turtles could completely avoid coming in contact with human waste while moving through the sewer tunnels. But have they at least isolated their lair from the main flow of sewage?

To put it bluntly, do the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live in feces?

  • 1
    The smell would be awful, but perhaps they situated themselves next to a storm drain runoff so that the water was at least filtered somewhat. Either that or they lived in one of the two water tunnels somehow. See also
    – Phyneas
    Jul 28, 2015 at 5:44
  • 1
    @Phyneas - Even if the Turtles live in storm drains, there's also the issue of what happens when the actual sewers flood in a storm. It frequently backs up into the storm drains and flows out into the East River untreated. Every time that happened, the lair would be filled with poo.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 28, 2015 at 5:50
  • 3
    That sort of happened in at least one episode ... though they left out the poo :)
    – Phyneas
    Jul 28, 2015 at 5:55

1 Answer 1


It seems not

Although the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles refer to residing in 'the sewers', it seems that this is not referring to the bodily waste sewerage system. As pointed out on the page for sewers on the TMNTPedia, the 'sewers' actually resemble more of the New York storm drain - also called a 'storm sewer' (possibly hence the term 'sewer').

As you can see in the below picture from the 1987 series, Splinters doesn't exactly look like he's surrounded by feces here:

Splinters in the 'sewer'

Here is an image of the New York Sewers. (Note: I'm going to post it as a link: for those of you who wish to see it, by all means click the link; I'm just not forcing everyone to look at this image which probably isn't the best just after a meal!)

By comparison, here is an image of the New York 'storm sewer'

New York 'storm sewer'

In comparing them, you will note the sewer seems to be a much larger area than the storm sewer. The area where Splinters is in the top-most image looks like the entrance point to the system. In the below image of the Old Croton Aqueduct in NYC, you can see there is a passageway off to the left - potentially an area such as this is where the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made their abode.

picture with orange tones.  Man alone in a bright sewer

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