PHOTO: Deformed Mountain Lion Found In Idaho

Jan 7, 2016

File this in your Idaho oddities folder: a hunter killed a mountain lion with a second set of teeth and whiskers growing on top of its head last week. As the Idaho State Journal reports, the year-old animal has Idaho Fish and Game biologists scratching their heads. They have never seen anything like it.

But the scientists do have some theories about what could have caused this abnormal growth.

"For one, the teeth could be the remnants of a conjoined twin that died in the womb and was absorbed into the lion killed last week. Conjoined animals in nature are very rare occurrences.

The biologists and veterinarians said it could also be a teratoma, which is a rare tumor that can contain hair, teeth and bones. In rare circumstances, a teratoma can also sprout more complex body parts such as eyes, fingers or toes.

Like conjoined twins, teratomas are rare in both humans and animals but have been documented in canines and horses." - Idaho State Journal

"It's something I've never seen before, and to be honest, nobody in our region has seen it before," says Idaho Fish and Game regional conservation educator Jennifer Jackson. She says the hunter has the lion now, and without examining the animal herself she can't say what caused it. But Jackson says the theory of a teratoma tumor is interesting to her.

Fish and Game plans to contact the hunter and see if he would bring the mountain lion in for study.

Follow reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

Copyright 2016 Boise State Public Radio