The present species is from two to three feet in length, exclusive of the tail, which is nearly half as much more; and stands from ten to twelve inches high. His body, which is more elongated in its form than that of any of the animals hitherto described, is covered with long hair, the ground colour of which is of a brownish gray intermingled with numerous transverse interrupted bands or irregular spots of black. A series of longer hairs of the latter colour occupy the middle line of the back, from between the shoulders to the extremity of the tail, and form a kind of mane, which may be raised or depressed at pleasure. The legs and greater part of the tail are perfectly black, and the upper lip and sides of the neck nearly white. A large patch of black surrounds each eye, and passes from it to the angle of the mouth; and two or three other bands of the same colour pass obliquely from the base of the ears towards the shoulder and neck, the latter of which is marked by a broad black patch.
The individual figured is a fine specimen, but is not yet in perfect plumage.
His ground-colour is a bright yellowish fawn above, and nearly pure white beneath, covered above and on the sides by innumerable closely approximating spots, from half an inch to an inch in diameter, which are intensely black, and do not, as in the Leopard and others of the spotted cats, form roses with a lighter centre, but are full and complete. These spots, which are wanting on the chest and under part of the body, are larger on the back than on the head, sides, and limbs, where they are more closely set: they are also spread along the tail, forming on the greater part of its extent interrupted rings, which, however, become continuous as they approach its extremity, the three or four last rings surrounding it completely. The tip of the tail is white, as is also the whole of its under surface, with the exception of the rings just mentioned; it is equally covered with long hair throughout its entire length, which is more than half that of the body. The outside of the ears, which are short and rounded, is marked by a broad black spot at the base, the tip, as also the inside, being whitish. The upper part of his head is of a deeper tinge; and he has a strongly marked flexuous black line, of about half an inch in breadth, extending from the inner angle of the eye to the angle of the mouth. The extremity of the nose is black, like that of the dog. The mane, from which he derives his scientific name, is not very remarkable: it consists of a series of longer, crisper, and more upright hairs, which extend along the back of the neck and the anterior portion of the spine.
In comparing the moral qualities of these two formidable animals, we shall also find that the shades of difference, for at most they are but shades, which distinguish them, are, like their external characteristics, pretty equally balanced in favour of each. In all the leading features of their character, the habits of both are essentially the same. The Tiger, equally with the Lion, and in common indeed with the whole of the group to which he belongs, reposes indolently in the security of his den, until the calls of appetite stimulate him to look abroad for food. He then chooses a convenient ambush, in which to lie concealed from observation, generally amid the underwood of the forest, but sometimes even on the branches of a tree, which he climbs with all the agility of a cat. In this secret covert he awaits with patient watchfulness the approach of his prey, upon which he darts forth with an irresistible bound, and bears it off in triumph to his den. Unlike the Lion, however, if his first attack proves unsuccessful, and he misses his aim, he does not usually slink sullenly back into his retreat, but pursues his victim with a speed and activity which is seldom baffled even by the fleetest animals.
Ursus Thibetanus. F. Cuv.