The Podocnemididae are a family of turtles native to Madagascar and northern South America. They are side-necked turtles (Pleurodira), which means they do not retract their heads backwards, but hide them sideways. These turtles are all aquatic, inhabiting streams and other flowing water. Their shells are streamlined to aid in swimming.
The Podocnemididae have been united with their closest living relatives, the Pelomedusidae, under the latter name, with both groups being treated as subfamilies. Under that scheme, the present group is named Podocnemidinae. Some authors still maintain this classification, but here it is preferred to keep them distinct families in the superfamilyPelomedusoidea instead.
The family Podocnemididae contains only three living genera, two of them monotypic: