Pelomedusidae is a family of freshwater turtles endemic to sub-Saharan Africa, including Madagascar, São Tomé, and the Seychelles(Although this pop. may have been introduced by humans). They range in size from 12 to 45 cm (4.7 to 17.7 in) in carapace length, and are generally roundish in shape. They are unable to fully withdraw their heads into their shells, instead drawing them to the side and folding them beneath the upper edge of their shells, hence are called African side-necked turtles.
The family contains two living genera. They are distinguished from their closest relatives by a hinge in the front section of the plastron.
Pelomedusidae spends most of its time in the mud at the bottom of rivers or shallow lakes, where they eat invertebrates, such as insects, mollusks, and worms. Many species aestivate through the dry season, burying themselves in the mud.