The male climbs onto the female turtle’s back and holds on to her carapace with the long, sharp claws of his front flippers. The way he hooks on to the edge of the female’s shell often results in a scratched shell and bleeding wounds in the soft parts of her body. Copulation can take place on the surface or under water.
Both male and females’ reproductive organs are located at the base of their tails in their cloaca – a combined intestinal, urinary, and reproductive organ. Males have a very long tail while females have a short tail. The male’s penis is located in his cloaca. He reaches his tail underneath the posterior end of the female’s shell to inseminate her cloaca.