Shapeshifters describes a variety of supernatural creatures featured prominently in MTV's Teen Wolf. Primarily, this group consists of humans who can, partially or fully, transform into animals.
There is an almost unlimited variety of human/animal shapeshifters in real world myths and stories.
Werewolves are a supernatural species of shapeshifter and are the primary protagonists within the Teen Wolf Universe.
They usually appear in human form and can shift to varying degrees into a bipedal wolf-like creature with increased body hair, fangs and glowing eyes.
While most of the werewolves on the show remain in the "nearly human" form; Laura Hale and her mother, Talia Hale, looked like a regular wolf when transformed and Peter Hale took on a monstrous giant wolf-like form.
Main Article: Werewolf
With the exception of their innate ability to fully transform, Werecoyotes and Werewolves appear to have the same abilities and weaknesses. This includes a loss of control on the full moon and susceptibility to Wolfsbane and Mountain Ash.
While they seem to share the same weaknesses and strengths with Werewolves, upon giving birth, some of the Werecoyote mother's power will be transferred to their offspring.
Main Article: Werecoyote
Teen Wolf Season 4 introduces the Aztec legend of the god Tezcalipoca who could transform into a jaguar at night.
The word Teen Wolf uses for his worshipers is "Nagual" which the show defines as "Werejaguar" despite the word's broader, real world, definition.
The word can mean "shapeshifter", "transforming witch" or "trickster."
Main Article: Werejaguar
A family of Wendigo is seen briefly in Season 4 of MTV's Teen Wolf.
Scott had difficultly fighting a Wendigo (Sean), but Alan Deaton seemed to easily beat one (Patrick) in A Promise to the Dead. Scott was hindered by his efforts to keep Liam from falling while Dr. Deaton had the benefit of surprise.
The Wendigo legend is part of Native American folklore about cannibals. They are said to have a near-insatiable hunger for human flesh.
- These vicious supernatural creatures were an unwelcome discovery among the native people of the new world. They are known to have an uncontrollable appetite for human flesh which leads them to kill despite any better judgment they might processes.
- Sneaky creatures, Wendigos can maintain a human appearance while hiding multiple fanged teeth (similar to Kanimas) behind their lips. However, when in their true form, Wendigos’ eyes shimmer with a white glow.
- While there may be a tactical strike known to kill these supernatural cannibals, among the tribes who have been most affected by Wendigos, it is yet unknown to us.
An illustration on the page is captioned "A Wendigo is strong enough to not only fight an Alpha Werewolf but to possibly win such a fight."
Main Article: Wendigo
The Kanima is a form of shapeshifter introduced in Season 2 of MTV's Teen Wolf.
According to Teen Wolf Mythology, the Kanima was created when Jackson Whittemore's emotional issues caused his body to reject the bite of an Alpha.
Instead of becoming a werewolf, Jackson transformed into a snake-like creature. We are led to believe that this shape reflected his inner turmoil and outward behavior.
The kanima is roughly the size of an average human male. It has a long prehensile tail and can climb up walls like some varieties of lizard.
Main Article: Kanima
Kitsune (キツネ) is the Japanese word for Fox.
Teen Wolf Creator Jeff Davis says he studied Japanese kitsune myths while coming up with the stories for Season 3(b).
We have only observed two Kitsune so far. To date, they have always appeared human to the naked eye.
There are 13 types of Kitsune within the Teen Wolf Universe. Only five have been named within the context of the show.
They are: Celestial, Wild, Ocean, Thunder and Nogitsune (or Void).
Kira Yukimura is a "Thunder Kitsune". Her mother is apparently a different type but that is not revealed on the show.
Main Article: Kitsune
In Season 5, Jordan Parrish is revealed to be a Hellhound.
His eyes glow orange/yellow and he is impervious to flame.
Thus far, Parrish has shown an ability generate flames and extreme heat around his body. He seems to heal quickly with his wounds giving off heat and smoke during the process.
He is strong enough to flip Stiles' Jeep and to bend the heated bars of a jail cell. The Hellhound's ability of generating flames around its body allows him to burn through Mountain Ash.
Lydia found a book that described a mythical Hellhound:
- “Woden’s Hunt, also known as the Wild Ride or Wild Hunt. A myth of devilish riders in the sky accompanied by black dogs, spectral beasts whose eyes glowed with fire... A Bearer of Death and Guardian of the Supernatural, the black dog is also known by its more common name, the Hellhound."
Main Article: Hellhound
In Season 6, Garrett Douglas is revealed by Theo Raeken to be a Löwenmensch, a creature that is half wolf and half lion.
From what we've seen from Douglas, the features of a werewolf, the eyes and fangs, are prominent but the claws are longer than that of the latter.
In reality, Löwenmensch, or "Lion Man" in German, is a carving made of Woolly Mammoth ivory dating back to the early Upper Paleolithic age. It is the oldest known animal sculpture in the world and an early expression of figurative art.
- EDITOR'S NOTE: The Löwenmensch is not part of any known mythology but is thought to have been part of the shamanistic belief system of early humans. This gave Teen Wolf writers a chance to add their own mythology to the creature.