In size it is intermediate between the two other species which he describes. Its most remarkable distinction is derived from the thickness of its neck and the flatness of its head, its forehead forming almost a straight line with its muzzle. The latter is moderately thick and somewhat lengthened; and the ears are very large. The body is compact, and the limbs heavy; a conformation from which we might be led to infer great muscular strength, together with a capacity for climbing trees and performing other feats of a similar description, were it not for the comparative weakness of the claws, which are scarcely more than half as long as those of the other Indian bears. Like the latter, its colour is invariably of a uniform glossy jet-black, except on the lower lip, which is white; as is also a patch occupying the front of the neck, and in shape like a Y, the two upper limbs of which pass in front of the shoulders, while the lower one occupies the middle line of the chest. The upper part of the muzzle is black, with a slight reddish tint on the sides; and the edges of the lips flesh-coloured. The hair, which is smooth on the muzzle, becomes shaggy on the back part of the head, from the base of the ears downwards, and adds considerably to the apparent volume of that part, but not quite to the same extent as in the Ursus labiatus, in old individuals of which it almost touches the ground. It was found by Dr. Wallich in the mountains of Nepaul, and by M. Duvaucel in those of Sylhet; and from this limited range the latter gentleman infers, perhaps a little too hastily, that its habitat is less extensive than that of its fellows. He also regards it as being more ferocious in its habits.
The Porcupine is a native of Africa and the south of Europe; he chooses for his abode the most arid and solitary situations, and passes the daytime secluded in the burrows which he digs for his habitation, quitting them only at night to provide his subsistence, which consists entirely of vegetable substances. He is a remarkably timid animal, and never makes use of his formidable weapons except in self-defence; if alarmed, his spines immediately become erected, and woe be to the enemy who should dare to attack him open-mouthed when in that posture.
Of the characters of most of the institutions which we have noticed the Tower Menagerie has at various times partaken in a greater or less degree. Originally intended merely for the safe-keeping of those ferocious beasts, which were until within the last century considered as appertaining exclusively to the royal prerogative, it has occasionally been converted into a theatre for their contests, and has terminated by adapting itself to the present condition of society as a source of rational amusement and a school of zoological science.