Donatello is the most scientific minded turtle, and is responsible for the creation of most of the Turtles' high-tech equipment, including the Turtle Van, the Turtle comms, and the Turtle Blimp. He also managed to build a working inter-dimensional portal though it is unknown how he found the necessary equipment to do so. He also thwarted a super knowledgeable Slash without any assistance. He wears a purple bandana and, as with his other incarnations, he carries a Bo staff. The running gag in the show was that Donatello's inventions usually had the habit of breaking down or blowing up in his face, although there were many times the team relied on him whenever they were faced with scientific or mechanical problems.
The 1987 series briefly hinted of Donatello's vocal reluctance to the group's role as crime fighters and helping humans in particular, both in the five pilot episode and a plot point in the "Red Sky" episode Cry H.A.V.O.C.!. He seemed to be the least interested among his brothers towards human culture, and even reflected if being a normal turtle would have given them a much easier life. He also was the only Turtle who expressed horror at the idea of becoming human in The Gang's All Here, and had no fantasies or desires based on that idea. Despite this, it never deterred him from appreciating human food such as pizza, and even bothered to get himself a college degree through mail, which he took great pride in.
In the rare moments when Leonardo was kidnapped or incapacitated, Donatello usually takes on the role as the group leader. Despite this, he also seemed the least self-sacrificial when it came to combat, preferring to find alternative ways out of bad situations. When Leonardo declared that they would go down fighting "like real turtles," Donatello's response was that he'd prefer to go on living, like a mock turtle. However, Donatello is capable of great aggression when provoked, such as in Turtles on Trial or Enter the Fly. This occurred to a greater extent in Night of the Dark Turtle, in which a shock to his system led to Donatello becoming overly aggressive and violent.
In the film Turtles Forever, he is the one who created the Trans-dimensional Portal Stick in order to reach the Turtle Prime Universe. When his skeptical 2003 counterpart (whom he fondly nicknamed "Mr. Wizard") voiced his concerns over calling a wrench a hammer, Donatello replied that science is more than just facts and details.
He and the other members also appear in the 2012 series, first making a brief cameo in Wormquake! and then The Wrath of Tiger Claw. Unlike in Turtles Forever, he and the other characters are voiced by their original voice actors. They all then appear in Trans-Dimensional Turtles.
- Donatello has a deep distaste for sushi, consistently referring to it as "raw fish" when expressing his dislike for it.
- This distaste apparently extends to all fish, as evidenced by his growing antipathy towards fish in Northern Lights Out.
- Donatello is right-handed, as shown in "The Day the Earth Disappeared" and "Donatello's Degree".
- In this incarnation, Donatello is the friend and roommate of the other Turtles, not their brother. Similarly, Splinter serves as his sensei alone and not as an actual father.