An Idaho hunter found a mountain lion with an extra set of teeth on top of his head, baffling the state Department of Fish and Game. The very unusual and rare feature was found after the feline attacked the hunter’s dog on his property near Weston, Idaho. The incredible discovery was made after the animal was killed.
The 200 pounds young male mountain lion was legally hunted on December 30th, and pictures have surfaced across the web on its amazingly odd feature. The feline appears to have an extra set of teeth on top of its head, and whiskers on the left side. The incredibly rare deformity currently has no known cause and has become a bit of a biological mystery.
It’s an unbelievable find of an unusual feature was made after the hunter’s dog survived an attack from the mountain lion. Reportedly, the man feared that the wild animal would return, so he rushed in pursuit shortly after scaring it off. Three hours later, the hunter and several others managed to capture the predator and kill it.
The big cat species are native to the United States, and quite a common occurrence in Idaho.
According to the state’s Department of Fish and Game, mountain lions have a healthy population and between 50 to 150 square miles worth of habitat. Commonly, they prey on deer, elk, moose, goats, rabbits, and raccoons, but occasionally drift further to attack domesticated pets or livestock of locals. The latter happened to be the case for this particular specimen.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game released a statement claiming that they have never seen such an unusual deformity before. In fact, it’s difficult for now to understand what exactly caused it. So far, researchers and experts have two theories that might explain the extra set of teeth on top of the big cat’s head.
One theory suggests that the mountain lion had a conjoined twin who died in the womb. That left remains as it was born, grew up, and lived around the mountain area of Idaho.
The second theory suggests that the abnormal growth is actually a “teratoma tumor”. It’s a type of tumor composed out of tissue that commonly results in the development of extra teeth, hair, fingers, or toes. According to researchers, it can also create extra neural tissue.
The condition is more common in canines and horses, but are found rarely in humans or other types of animals. This particular one is likely extremely rare, and the researchers might conduct more study on its corpse in order to understand its formation. The theories have been a result of only a careful analysis of the picture.
Officials have expressed their desire for a more in-depth examination, but the mountain lion is currently still in the hunter’s ownership.
Image source: newsweek.com