Teen Wolf has eight types of shapeshifters shown throughout the series. A few of these shapeshifters appear on-screen more times than others, as they play a more important role in the Teen Wolf universe. Some of them aren’t as well known as the werewolf, but they all play important roles in the series nonetheless.
Teen Wolf follows Scott McCall (Tyler Posey), a high school student in Beacon Hills who gets bitten by a werewolf shapeshifter and has to adapt to the new beast within him. His character builds a pack of subordinates that include werewolves and some other shapeshifters. While the werewolf is the primary shapeshifter of the show, the others add to the plot and create trouble for Tyler Posey’s character in Teen Wolf.
Season 2 is when the first non-werewolf shapeshifter appears in Teen Wolf, and from that point onward different kinds of shapeshifters have shown up in Beacon Hills. There are eight different types of shapeshifters from werewolves and kanimas to kitsunes and hellhounds. A lot of them share similar powers such as accelerated healing, super strength, and super speed, but there are some very isolating differences that make them unique.
The werewolf is the most iconic shapeshifter in the Teen Wolf series. Some individuals are born as a werewolf, as their families contain a specific werewolf genome. Others, like Scott, are bitten by an Alpha and are turned into a werewolf. Werewolves in Teen Wolf tend to have similar physical features unlike the different-looking werewolves in Harry Potter. What is awesome about the werewolf is that there are different ranks within the shapeshifting species. There are the Omegas, Betas, and Alphas. Alphas are the highest rank, with Betas right below them and Omegas at the lowest tier.
An Alpha werewolf is the leader of a pack and contains the most strength and power among the other types of werewolves. There are a few different Alphas shown throughout the series as there are different packs of werewolves that the protagonists encounter. One can become an Alpha by asserting dominance and leadership over followers, building a pack, or even taking down another Teen Wolf Alpha wolf and his or her pack. They possess the power of the Alpha roar, which allows them to make lower ranks transform into and out of their werewolf forms. Betas are werewolves that follow the Alpha of their pack. They are tied to a certain pack by blood or by being bitten by an Alpha. Omegas are rare and are commonly known as outcasts. They do not have a pack that they follow and are either trying to find one or prefer to be on their own. Werewolves are a dynamic species in Teen Wolf with their hierarchal system of ranks and their abilities to rise and fall within it. As the main shapeshifters of the show, there is a lot more information on them that is given to the audience. Despite that, there are plenty of other interesting shapeshifters that are not werewolves seen in Teen Wolf.
The werecoyote is a shapeshifter within the werewolf community. Ultimately, the werecoyote contains many similar aspects of a werewolf as they are both canine creatures. It is a human-animal hybrid species that has the ability to change into a coyote. The werecoyote can also be affected by an Alpha roar. Malia Tate (Shelley Hennig) is the first werecoyote seen in the series. She is stuck in her coyote form until Scott uses his Alpha roar to help her change back into her human form. One is able to become a werecoyote by being born with the genes of one. Similar to werewolves, a werecoyote possesses fangs, glowing eyes, claws, pointy ears, and hairy sideburns.
The werejaguar is first seen in Teen Wolf season 4, and it’s one of the few female shapeshifters in the show. It’s a special type of shapeshifter that is said to come from an Aztec legend of a god who holds a strong connection to jaguars. Some characteristics of the shapeshifter are that it has green eyes, smaller fangs than a werewolf, and dark blue skin with black spots when it shapeshifts. Some of its powers include super speed, strength, and accelerated healing, which are very similar to those of werewolves and werecoyotes. Werejaguars share a special, yet unknown connection with Berserkers. Berserkers are individuals that wear bear skins and bones to hone in on the animal’s energy but ultimately become ferocious animals themselves. Kate Argent (Jill Wagner) is the main werejaguar seen in season 4 and obtains loyalty from the Berserkers. She even gains the ability to create them as well.
The kanima, played by Colton Haynes in Teen Wolf’s season 2, is the first non-werewolf shapeshifter seen in the series. Some characteristics of the kanima are that it has scaled skin, yellow eyes, and a tail and claws that contain paralyzing venom. It also has the ability to heal rather quickly. One major aspect of the kanima is that the human half of the shapeshifter becomes vulnerable to its own venom when the kanima isn’t in control. Jackson Whittemore (Colton Haynes) becomes the first kanima after his body rejected the bite of an Alpha. His emotional issues cause this rejection and turn him into the reptilian shapeshifter. He does become a werewolf later on, but still maintains certain aspects of the kanima and seems to have control over his combined powers.
The kitsune is a shapeshifter that hides in plain sight and possesses similar powers to other shapeshifters such as super strength, speed, and healing. Supposedly a kitsune can take the form of a human, but they are only able to do so after a hundred years. There are different types of this shapeshifter, and the five named in the show are Celestial, Ocean, Wild, Thunder, and Void. They tend to appear human to the naked eye, but digital photography and enhanced vision show their true aura, which is the shape of a fox around their body. Kitsunes are able to conceal their aura as they grow older, but it is hard for them to do so at a younger age.
Some other interesting details about the kitsunes are that they have a very slow aging process, and they cannot pass through mountain ash like other shapeshifters. Kira Yukimura (Arden Cho) is the first kitsune shown in the series in season 3, and she is a thunder-type kitsune. This allows her to absorb electrical currents and use them to enhance her powers.
The löwenmensch is a shapeshifter that is part-wolf and part-lion. It is much like the other shapeshifters as it has super speed, strength, senses, and healing. It shares similar physical features to that of a werewolf with its glowing eyes, sharp fangs, hairy brows, and claws. Their bite is as strong, if not, stronger as the bite of a werewolf. It is one of the more powerful villains of the series. The only löwenmensch seen is in Teen Wolf season 6, Garrett Douglas (Pete Ploszek), a former member of the Nazi German army. He possesses the powers of a löwenmensch and Alpha wolf after being treated by the Dread Doctors. He is one of the deadlier shapeshifters in the show.
The hellhound is a special shapeshifter. Its main goal is to hide the supernatural world from humans. A hellhound is neither defined as good nor bad, as their duty to the supernatural world keeps them in a neutral point of view. It possesses the power of amortality, which (unlike immortality) means that it is an infinite being that doesn’t simply live forever but is beyond life and death altogether. It also can use pyrokinesis, which is the power to produce flames from within the body and use them at will. This unique power is similar to that of Marvel’s Human Torch. It is even able to cross through mountain ash, unlike other supernatural creatures. Of course, it also has super speed, strength, and healing like the other shapeshifters.
Jordan Parrish (Ryan Kelley) is the first hellhound in Teen Wolf, and his body is the host for Cerberus, a hellhound that has been around for centuries. Parrish is able to use the abilities of the hellhound as Cerberus fully merged with him, giving the hellhound and its host the chance to live harmoniously together. Its powers and sense of being make this shapeshifter extremely important to the Teen Wolf universe.
Last but not least, there are the wendigos. The wendigo is a cannibalistic shapeshifter based on Native American folklore that states that these shapeshifters need human flesh in order to live. Wendigos sort of look like the different types of vampires in Day Shift when they are in their supernatural form. When they shapeshift, wendigos have white eyes and incredibly sharp teeth, and they make a strange hissing noise when they feel they are in danger. They are a very strong species and have the ability to take on any human and werewolf with no problem at all.
Despite its super strength, there isn’t much to this shapeshifter in Teen Wolf. The wendigo doesn’t have accelerated healing and its hunger can act as a weakness. The longer it goes without feeding on human flesh, the wendigo will lose control over its hunger and run a risk of exposing itself to those around it.
Teen Wolf shapeshifters come in a wide variety of species with many powers and physical appearances. These shapeshifters are a major part of the Teen Wolf universe just as shapeshifters and witches in The Vampire Diaries are. Perhaps some new shapeshifters will make appearances in the upcoming movie adaptation of the series, Teen Wolf: The Movie.
Next: Every Character & Actor Returning For The Teen Wolf Movie