On December 30, 2015, the young male mountain lion was observed attacking a dog on a landowner’s property in the rural Weston area. The mountain lion ran off and its tracks were followed through other properties and eventually to a place where the cat had retreated to the hills. Within three hours of the attack, a hunter began tracking the mountain lion with the use of hounds and harvested the cat legally that same day. The dog attacked by the mountain lion survived.
The mountain lion had an unusual deformity–fully formed teeth and what appears to be small whiskers growing out of hard fur-covered tissue on the left side of the animal’s forehead.
Idaho Fish and Game cannot definitively explain why this abnormality developed on this mountain lion. It is possible that the teeth could be the remnants of a conjoined twin that died in the womb and was absorbed into the other fetus. It is also possible that the deformity was a teratoma tumor. These kinds of tumors are composed of tissue from which teeth, hair, and even fingers and toes can develop. They are rare in humans and animals. Biologists from the southeast region of Idaho Fish and Game have never seen anything like this particular deformity before.
As required by law, the hunter reported the harvest of the mountain lion to Fish and Game, and a conservation officer checked the mountain lion–a process that includes verifying the hunter has a valid hunting license and tag, recording information about the harvest location and method of take, recording information about the animal itself and pulling a tooth for age analysis. The hunter is not required to turn the animal over to Fish and Game for further analysis.