[[quoteright:269:[[VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Shell_5323.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:269:Clothes optional.]]

In RealLife, a turtle's shell is fused to its spine (It is, after all, a modified ''rib cage''). [[BodyHorror Removing a shell in Real Life]], if possible at all, will kill the turtle in seconds if the turtle is lucky. But in fiction, it is often treated as a removable article of clothing. Expect the turtle, when out of the shell, to be wearing little more than GoofyPrintUnderwear.

Alternately, the shell may be large enough to not only accommodate the resident turtle, but also allow somebody else to hide inside it at the same time. In some cases, the Removable Shell may also be portrayed as having a ''furnished apartment'' (and often BiggerOnTheInside). Another variant will be for the turtle to withdraw all of its limbs (and its head) to make them pop out so that it does a 180 degree turn without moving from the spot. Slow animals with removed shells may [[ShedArmorGainSpeed become much faster]].

A variant can apply to other shelled animals like snails.

SubTrope of ArtMajorBiology, AppropriateAnimalAttire, and FunnyAnimalAnatomy.

Compare FurIsClothing (the mammalian equivalent).

Contrast EggshellClothing (the shell that is supposed to come off does not).



* For the longest time in the UsefulNotes/TwinCities area, there were commercials for a casino whose mascot was a shell-less turtle dancing in [[GoofyPrintUnderwear polka dot heart boxers]].

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The obscure Japanese series ''Anime/OraaGuzuraDado'' had one turtle character, for whom this trope was a running gag.
* ''Manga/DragonBall'''s Master Roshi, though not a turtle, is the turtle hermit, and wears a heavy shell on his back for [[TrainingFromHell training purposes]] which is fully detachable.
* In ''Anime/PaniPoniDash'', the cast travels inside [[CloudCuckoolander Himeko]]'s dreams, wherein the Archangel Michael has a turtle companion who keeps losing her shell.

* Back in the Eighties, there was a newspaper cartoon (''Some Thoughts'' by Eric Johnson) in the UGA college newspaper, ''The Red and Black'', that featured a series of strips about a turtle jumping out of his carapace (wearing the requisite wife-beater and boxers), later suggling inside the carapace with a turtle-honey, and finally, about some [[AcceptableTargets Georgia Tech students]] who indignantly wrote in to the cartoonist to complain that [[CompletelyMissingThePoint they had opened up a real turtle and not found a little animal in boxer shorts]].
* The Terrific Whatzit, a Creator/DCComics GoldenAge FunnyAnimal superhero, is a turtle who possessed a costume similar to that of the Golden Age [[ComicBook/TheFlash Flash]], and powers similar to those of Golden Age speedster Johnny Quick. When in costume, he removed his shell (his superhero name stemmed from the difficulty of telling what species he was without the shell).

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Verne in ''WesternAnimation/OverTheHedge'' often loses his shell. After this happens several times, R.J. asks Verne, "What is the point of this thing again?"
* In ''WesternAnimation/CatsDontDance'', T.W. Turtle never actually gets out of his shell, but he did duck into it on one occasion and re-emerge with a scrub brush and soap, as though he'd been cleaning the inside.
* A chipmunk falls inside a turtle's shell in ''Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs''.
* One scene in ''Disney/RobinHood'' had Toby Tortoise pull his head into his shell and peek out from one of his armholes.

* Clothahump the turtle wizard in Creator/AlanDeanFoster's ''Literature/{{Spellsinger}}'' series doesn't have a removable shell, but he has enchanted his plastron to install transdimensional cabinet drawers in his chest.
* A board book by Creator/SandraBoynton featured a turtle inside its shell looking at another turtle that's outside its shell.
* A picture book by Eric Carle was actually about a turtle who took off his shell.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'': During one of the ''Film/{{Gamera}}'' movies, the bots decided to make a model of Gamera to show what's inside his shell. As they imagined it, he has a fully furnished apartment, complete with a gym, inside there. As well as another door which should never be opened, because that's where Gamera keeps all his internal organs.
* Subverted in ''Series/RedDwarf'': Lister recounted how, when he was a kid, he once opened a turtle's shell with a can opener. Said he, in his defence: "Well, I didn't ''know''!"
* Subverted in a NoodleIncident mentioned by Darnell on ''Series/MyNameIsEarl''. [[TheDitz Randy]] apparently pulled the original Mr. Turtle out of his shell to see what was inside, then crammed him back into it hoping Darnell wouldn't notice. The original Mr. Turtle didn't survive.

[[folder: Puppet Shows]]
* One episode of ''Series/TheMuppetShow'' features a turtle who doesn't leave his shell, but is able to stick his head out a hatch at the top like a tank, while a gun emerges from the head hole.
* Averted in ''The Animal Show with Stinky and Jake'', as befits an EdutainmentShow, with a turtle who sings a song called "My Shell is a Part of Me".

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' has the Tojanida; a monster that resembles a cross between a sea turtle and a lobster. It has eight holes in its shell, out of which it can freely stick its flippers, claws, and head in any configuration it desires.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Dub from ''VideoGame/DieAnstalt'': Treating his neuroses required you to literally get him out of his shell.
* Shellcreepers in ''VideoGame/MarioBros'' and Koopas in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld'' and later games.
** A whole sequence is based around this in the first ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' [[VideoGame/PaperMario64 game]]. The Fuzzies invade Koopa Village and steal everyone's shells, leaving Mario to recover them.
** Averted in the first Gameboy title, ''VideoGame/SuperMarioLand'', where it was apparently too graphics intensive. The equivalent monster has an exploding, non-removable shell, and plays more like a Bob-omb expy.
** Taken to extremes in the ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld'' hack ''SMW YEAHHH', with the Blue Elite Koopas. They actually take off and fire their shells at Mario like missiles, even while flying. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joZ-1Vm9kkQ See here.]]
** In ''VideoGame/SuperMario3DWorld'', the player can actually get into the shells themselves for some SuperSpeed.
* In ''VideoGame/AmericanMcGeesAlice'', Mock Turtle's shell gets stolen by the Duchess, and Alice gets to become a honorary reptile by helping recover it.
* Carapacion-type enemies in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' might qualify, as when "Broken" their carapace vanishes, which removes their Nigh Invulnerability until they restore the carapace.
** It's only really iffy because even when they actually have the carapace it's not a true shell, but more closely resembles a pangolin or man-made scale/plate mail.
* The Polish puzzle game ''Zagadki Lwa Leona'' features a puzzle where you have to help a turtle whose shell apparently was stolen and inexplicably got stranded on a branch.
* Rare gastropod example: According to its Pokedex entry, the Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Shelmet is a snail-like Pokemon whose helmet-like shell is often removed from its body by an beetle-like Pokemon called Karrablast so it can evolve into Escavalier (which resembles an armored insect who has spears for arms and said armor being made from said shell). Fortunately, Shelmet evolves into Accelgor, a ''{{Ninja}}'' snail.
** The Oshawott family (based on sea otters and other aquatic mammals) also have removable shells, called ''[[{{JustForFun/Tropemanteau}} Scalchops]]'' (for Oshawott and Dewott) and ''[[PunnyName Seamitars]]'' (for Samurott). However, unlike most of the examples listed here, the shells are too small to hide inside and are instead used solely to be removed as weapons.
* One of the playable characters in ''Battle Beast'' is a turtle who can step out of his shell, which then gains a handle as it turns into a [[DropTheHammer large hammer to pummel his opponents with]].
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX''
** Armored Armadillo of the first game can has his armadillo shell be broken with Electric Spark, making him more vulnerable to attacks.
** The second game has Crystal Snail. If you hit him with the Magnet Mine, his shell flies off, causing him to lose his only method of defence and causing him to focus on trying to reclaim it over attacking you...which you can prolong indefinitely by knocking the shell around. Justified because he's a robot.
** The sixth game's Shield Sheldon is a clam robot who freely throws his clam shells around like Captain America with his shield.
** The eighth game's Earthrock Trilobyte will have his shell broken with any weapon acquired from Gravity Antonion.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Aquaria}}'', Naija can remove the shells of small turtles with her Bind song, which would otherwise damage her.
* The Escarglow dream eaters in ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3D'' [[PrecisionGuidedBoomerang throw their shells like boomerangs]] for a number of their attacks. They have a serious flaw in that their shells will be smacked away if they receive a solid hit, which causes them to prioritize getting them back over anything else and being snails, they do this ''slowly''.
* [[HeavilyArmoredMook Turtles]] in ''[[VideoGame/DarkwingDuckCapcom Darkwing Duck]]'' for NES ''sneeze'' their shells at Darkwing, at which point they are vulnerable (but, interestingly, still really tough, requiring 6 pellets to go down). The shell then comes back like a boomerang, so watch your back while attacking them.
* In ''VideoGame/ShowByRock'', Turtle BIG ([[ADogNamedDog a turtle]]) and Takeppa (a kappa) have shells that are represented as backpacks worn ''outside their clothing'', implying they can put them on and take them off at their leisure like any other fashion accessory.

* Simonla of "Sonichu" assurs the other Rosechus, and the audience, that her shell is removable so nothing will get in the way of her poorly-drawn breasts when she poses nude.
* All Terrekin in ''Webcomic/CosmicDash'' have a shell that attaches to their back, [[http://www.cosmicdash.com/comic/episode-3-pg-3/ through a hole in their clothes]]. WordOfGod mentions genetic engineering.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Happens regularly to Cecil Turtle in WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes cartoons.
* Happens nearly ten years before Cecil's debut in 1941 to a turtle in 1932's ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqPnVjk2CWc Freddie the Freshman]]''.
* Filbert the turtle in ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife''.
* Gary the snail in ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'', depending on the episode. Sometimes the shell lifts up to show something hidden inside; sometimes the shell is BiggerOnTheInside and [=SpongeBob=] is able to crawl into it; and sometimes cracking the shell [[SubvertedTrope exposes Gary's veiny, throbbing innards.]]
* WesternAnimation/{{Franklin}} and all of his family members have shells that are removable. Played with in a fire safety story in which Mr. Turtle found that he could not evacuate his house by the window unless he first removed his shell.[[note]] Interestingly enough, in the very first Litrature/{{Franklin}} book of the book series that the cartoon was based on, 'Franklin in The Dark', the story centres around Franklin overcoming his fear of entering his turtle shell because of his fear of small, dark places.[[/note]] In the ''Franklin and Friends'' AllCGICartoon spin-off, however, Franklin and his family's shells are integral parts of their bodies that they can't remove.
* Shelby Turtle from ''Mickey [=MouseWorks=]'' and ''WesternAnimation/HouseOfMouse'' (which recycled many shorts from the former) was depicted as having a removable shell and wearing a diaper underneath.
* Br'r Turtle from Br'r Hare fame.
* Happens in the ''very'' first episode of ''WesternAnimation/DinkTheLittleDinosaur''. Crusty takes off his shell to take a bath. When the [[DesignatedVillain resident badguy]], [[TyrannosaurusRex Trannor]] shows up, one of the characters hides in the shell and he carries both the shell and the character off.
* Averted in ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles''.
* Averted in ''WesternAnimation/TheGetAlongGang''.
* Sheldon the turtle in ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''. Stewie says that his skinny body looks like "a nude Creator/LarryDavid".
* In ''WesternAnimation/MikeLuAndOg'', one of the misfortunes that Lu's pet turtle Lancelot frequently suffered was losing his shell.
* On ''[[Franchise/WinnieThePooh My Friends Tigger & Pooh]]'', Turtle has this and when he and Rabbit re-create the historic race between their grandparents, ala ''Literature/TheTortoiseAndTheHare'', he removes it and gains a great boost in speed, becoming about the same speed as Rabbit. In the end, after they both end up calling the Super Sleuths to help the other, they end the race in a tie... just as their grandparents did.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The hermit crab. It's quite an oddball in that it's the only arthropod that uses a calcified shell for protection. Except, it doesn't produce its own, it simply looks for an abandoned gastropod shell. As it grows, it needs to look for bigger and bigger shells to accommodate. Quite hilariously, they also use manmade rubbish - like plastic bottlecaps, for instance.
* The Turtle's shell is the last part of the reptile's body to deteriorate.
* Sadly, this trope is responsible for an awful lot of badly-injured turtles turning up at vet clinics and wildlife rehab centers, after ignorant people's attempts to "take off" their shells to see what they look like without them. Answer: They look ''dead'' without them.[[/folder]]