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A fairly large turtle; the largest Egyptian specimen being 700 mm in carapace length. Carapace and plastron leathery, without horny plates; carapace depressed, almost circular, covered with numerous longitudinal rows of small tubercles; posterior edge forming a large flap over the hind limbs and tail. Plastron smooth. Neck long; head small, snout elongate tubular terminating with the nostrils. Three strong, sharp, claws on all limbs, with webbing between digits. Color of carapace and dorsal sides of limbs and head olive or olive-brown, with numerous small whitish spots. Ventral sides yellowish white.