Idaho Fish and Game says deformed mountain lion photo is not a fake


10  Updated at 4:45 pm, January 7th, 2016 By: Nate Sunderland,
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Courtesy Idaho Department of Fish and Game

IDFG release more details about the hunt of the mountain lion here.

PRESTON — An abnormal growth of teeth, hair and whiskers on the forehead of a yearling mountain lion has some local biologists intrigued and others skeptical.

“A hunter brought it in, and there was something extra,” Idaho Fish and Game Region 5 spokeswoman Jennifer Jackson told “We haven’t seen anything like this in our region.”

The young male was killed Dec. 30 in Franklin County, about 8 miles southwest of Preston by an Idaho hunter. As per state law, the hunter brought his kill to IDFG to be checked. IDFG officers are required to remove a tooth from harvested mountain lions to gather data on their ages, Jackson said.

“In the process of harvesting the animal we had an officer check it, and we determined something really interesting was going on,” Jackson said.

The Preston conservation officer described the abnormality as a growth of muscle and dense tissue with several teeth, hair and whiskers growing out of it. He photographed the animal, and the hunter took the carcass home, apparently to be taken to a taxidermist, Jackson said. sent the photo to several biologists at east Idaho universities who suggested the photo might be a fake. However, IDFG officials confirmed the animal had been physically handled and examined by the conservation officer.

But the animal was not examined by veterinarians or biologists. Regional IDFG biologists said it’s impossible to determine the exact cause of the deformity based solely on visual observations of a photo.

But the biologists do have some theories.

Jackson said the mass of teeth, hair and whiskers could be a conjoined twin that stopped developing and embedded itself on the lion while in the womb.

Another theory, which officials say is more likely, is that the growth is a teratoma — a rare tumor that contains extremities like teeth and hair. reached out to the Wildlife Health Forensic Laboratory in Boise for more information about the condition.

The state wildlife veterinarian was unavailable, but laboratory staffers told that when animals are developing in utero, an identical twin can fuse to a body and create a mass of cells. That mass of cells — the teratoma — can sometimes develop teeth, hair, bone and skin. As animals get older, the mass typically gets larger.

Biologists are attempting to contact the hunter so they can take a closer look at the carcass.

“Our biologists didn’t get to examine it, and we’re interested in looking at this one a bit closer,” Jackson said.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated the mountain lion was female based on information provided by Idaho Fish and Game. However, that information was incorrect and has been changed in the copy above.

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  • spudd1

    Could it possibly be from Ligar town?

  • Helen

    It looks almost like a chicken trying to escape through the top of its head. Interesting. Don’t blame the guy for wanting to preserve that.

  • danny

    It’s fake the top teeth are blood stained

    • Christene Jaramillo

      its blood from being shot..

      • ThomasNeidhart

        lol… I know, right? come on, Danny! LOL

  • Hard Little Machine

    Global warming or Trump is to blame

  • Brian Stump

    Why is that a mystery? Interesting as any conjoined twins/ absorbed twin. So what

  • Frank Energy

    Anyone consider that is it a mutation caused by Idaho National Lab KNOWN radiation and heavy metal leakage, with a topping of Fukushima Spewage to boot?

    It is extremely unlikely to be a teratoma tumor, those dont Usually turn into real and multiple body parts, as opposed to normally they are just weird looking tumors.

    The radiation mutation is much more likely. This cat could have easily travelled from Idaho National Lab to where he was shot, they are both in the lower east side of Idaho. And that area of the country was also PELTED with Fukushima radiation, as a catalyst.

  • katie

    I thought it was a CHICKEN HEAD

  • ProtectOurWilderness

    I wonder why the biologists didn’t get to examine it! That’s the part that’s leaves me wondering what’s up with this picture. What are they trying to hide?