Carapace dark brown, almost black, but shows some variation from "normal" turtle patterns. The plastron is a light brown, tan color. Long neck and (including head) can sometimes exceed the length of the carapace. Skin mostly gray, has a black head and white on under parts of the skin.
When resting, this turtle twists its long neck off to the side for protection. The highly flexible neck permits foraging in mud as well as snorkeling. It also allows the turtle to strike quickly to capture prey.
^Boulenger, G.A. 1888. On the chelydoid chelonians of New Guinea. Annals Museo Civico di Storia Naturale de Genova. (2)6:449-452
^Peter Paul van Dijk, John B. Iverson, H. Bradley Shaffer, Roger Bour, and Anders G.J. Rhodin. 2012. Turtles of the World, 2012 Update: Annotated Checklist of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 000.243–000.328.