The smooth, oval carapace is blackish or dark brown, and the plastron is pale yellowish brown to off white. In adults the carapace is flatter and smooth-edged, but in juveniles is more domed and serrated posteriorly. The webbed feet are large and paddle-like, and the claws long and thick.
It is semi-aquatic, inhabits large lakes, swamps and slow flowing rivers.
Omnivorous, probably feeding on fallen fruits and other plant matter, as well as fish and other available vertebrates.
Lay a clutch of eggs once or twice a year. Eggs are brittle and ellipsoidal, about 80 x 40 mm.