The spotted pond turtle is a rare, large freshwater turtle with black ground color and white or light yellow spots on its shell, neck and legs. A large shield, sometimes divided into three, covers the upper surface of the snout and the crown, one shield around the upper jaw and one on each side between the eye and the ear. Mature adults grow up to 14 inches in length. Its digits are webbed to the claws. The tail is extremely short. The shell is dark brown or blackish, elegantly marked with yellow spots and radiating streaks, and the soft parts are dark brown or blackish, with round yellow spots, largest on the head and neck.