Cougar With Teeth Growing From Forehead Perplexes
The animal was killed late last month in Idaho
By Luke Roney, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2016 7:47 AM CST
Huh.   (Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

(Newser) – A hunter in southeast Idaho bagged a cougar in late December that had an extra set of teeth … growing out of its forehead, the Idaho State Journal reports. "It has all of us scratching our heads," a wildlife biologist tells the Journal. It's described, per East Idaho News, as a "growth of muscle and dense tissue with several teeth, hair and whiskers growing out of it." Explanations for the bizarre deformity include:

  • All that remains of a conjoined twin that died in the womb (rare occurrence in nature)
  • An injury that didn't heal quite right (not likely)
  • A type of tumor called a teratoma that can contain teeth, hair, bones, and even eyeballs (also rare, but it's happened with dogs and horses)

The hunter tracked the cougar into the hills and killed it after it was seen attacking a dog, according to a press release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. In accordance with the law, the hunter brought the dead mountain lion to a state inspector, who verified the kill was legal and pulled a tooth to determine the animal's age. "In the process of harvesting the animal we had an officer check it, and we determined something really interesting was going on," a Fish and Game spokeswoman tells East Idaho News. However, the state can't shed much more light because its biologists haven't fully examined the animal. It's not clear whether that will happen—the hunter wasn't required to turn it over, and he's said to be planning to bring the cat to a taxidermist. (This man had a tooth growing in an unusual location.)