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Helmeted Turtle Video Stock Footage
The marsh terrapin is typically a rather small turtle, with most individuals being less than 20 cm (7.9 in) in straight carapace length, but one has been recorded with a length of 32.5 cm (12.8 in). It has a black or brown carapace. The top of the tail and limbs are a grayish brown, while the underside is yellowish. The male turtle is distinguished by its long, thick tail. A female tends to have a shorter tail and a broader carapace. A hatchling has a shell size of about 3 cm (1.2 in) in length, and is olive to black in color. It also has two small tubercles under the chin and musk glands in the sides of the carapace. Uniquely, the genus Pelomedusa does not have a hinged plastron (lower shell). All the other species in the family Pelomedusidae, however, do have this feature with which they can, using muscles, close the plastron to the carapace to cover the head and front limbs. Unlike many chelonians, the African helmeted turtle is able, when it finds itself upside down, to right itself with a vigorous flick of its long muscular neck.
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