Henodus, like many other placodonts, had a superficial resemblance to a turtle. Like turtles, it had a shell formed from a plastron on the underside and a carapace on top. The carapace extended well beyond the limbs, and was made up of individual plates of bony scutes covered by plates of horn. However, the shell was composed of many more pieces of bone than that of turtles, forming a mosaic pattern. The armor was fused to its spine, and its limbs were situated in normal positions, unlike the turtle, where they are located inside the ribcage. The weak limbs of Henodus suggest it spent little, if any time on land.