It was, like, totally reptillian last Friday at the National Aquarium when Michelangelo, a lead Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, lectured third-graders from Houston Elementary School in Northeast about sea turtles.

But before he could open his beak, officials at the National Aquarium had to brief him about what his creators would have us believe were his not-so-distant kin.

On the road with his "40-sewer" concert tour, he, like, totally blanked out about the life and times of his venerable descendants.

So workers set aside about 30 minutes to teach him that sea turtles can live about 30 years in captivity and that the only time they leave the water is to lay eggs.

"We kind of learned it with our feet running," Michelangelo said, as he peered in at two huge turtles swimming inside a tank just minutes before the Houston students arrived for their lesson on conservation.

But it didn't seem to matter that his knowledge of turtles was, like, really limited. The students were much more captivated with the on-stage persona of the valley-talking hero on the half shell.

Michelangelo, along with the rest of his three-fingered rock quartet, was in Washington last week for performances at the George Mason University Patriot Center in Fairfax.

The group began in 1984 as comic book characters and evolved to have its own television cartoon series, a live-action film and other licensing knockoffs.

While the turtles spend most of their time in concert and skateboarding and trying to avoid their arch rival, that Shredder-dude, they also have a serious side, the turtles told the youngsters.

"Basically, we are going to help people become more aware about sea turtles," Michelangelo said.

"A lot of poeple don't know that sea turtles are endangered . . . they're, like, on their last leg."