Torterra is a bulky quadruped Pokémon resembling a tortoise, with a large shell covering its back. There is a single, oak-like tree and three triangular, stony extensions resembling mountain peaks on the top of the shell. There is a patch of brown, resembling soil, next to the tree. A white rim surrounds the shell, and forms a diamond-shaped continuation on the front. Torterra's body appears sectioned, with the upper half being green and the lower half brown. Its mouth is jagged and at the end of its snout is a dark brown beak, giving it the appearance of a snapping turtle. Its lower jaw is green and there are two large spikes protruding from its cheeks. Torterra's small, red eyes are encircled by a black ring. Its legs are thick and they have four toes each, which appear as if they are actually jagged stones. There are three toes on the front and one on the heel.
Torterra's large and clean shell supports the lives of many small Pokémon, which occasionally gather and build their nests upon the shell. Some are born and spend their entire life there. Torterra migrate in search of water, creating the illusion of "moving forests". However, it is typically immobile.
Torterra is a combination of tortoise and terra (Latin for ground). Terra may also refer to terrapins. It also bears similarity to tuatara (a reptile similar to a lizard) and totara (a type of tree), both found in New Zealand.
Dodaitose may be a combination of 土 do (earth or ground), 大 dai (large), and tortoise. It may also involve 土台 dodai (foundation).