The African helmeted turtle or Marsh terrapin (Pelomedusa subrufa), is typically a rather small turtle with most individuals being less than 87.9 cm in carapace length, but one has been recorded with a carapace length of 132.5 cm. it has an black or brown carapace (shell). The tops of the tail and limbs are a grayish brown, while the underside is yellowish. The male turtle is distinguished by its long, thick tail. Females tend to have a shorter tail and a broader carapace. Hatchlings have a shell size of about 1 and 1/4 inches in length, and are olive to black in color. It also has two small tubercles under the chin and musk glands in the sides of the carapace. The African helmeted turtle doesn't have a hinged plastron (lower shell). All the other species in the family Pelomedusidae however have this feature which they can, using muscles, close to cover their head and front limbs.