A large aquatic reptile with short, thick legs, a powerful tail, and a rounded body. Adults are dark gray and young have distinct yellow bands on the body and tail.
Carapace coloration is extremely variable and ranges from light gray with boldly patterned concentric rings to a uniform black or dark brown. Plastron ranges from light yellow to orange to green/gray. Hatchlings tend to be more boldly marked than adults.
A small land turtle with a large variation in shell color and pattern. The domed carapace and hinged plastron may be yellow or orange or olive on a black or brown background. Males usually have red eyes whereas females’ eyes are brown. Hatchlings are plain brown with a yellow spot on each large scute.