Re: Do you like scaleless snakes?
A lot of the discussions on here involve topics I'm unable to say much about because of my inexperience with keeping snakes as pets, but I'm really enjoying hearing everyone's perspective about this. It's funny, from a personal perspective I get and agree with the sentiment regarding these scale-less snakes and other trait manipulated animals we (humans) keep as pets. However, whether we consider an animal "improved" from an evolutionary perspective is entirely dependent on how it performs in the environment in which it lives. Natural selection (or artificial selection if you believe human directed selection should not be considered the same) doesn't really care about physical, physiological or other health problems associated with traits so long as the trait increases the possibility of the individual with that trait contributing to future offspring. So in the context of the pet trade, if people like a certain trait and breeders can make money by breeding individuals with that trait, evolution has done it's job and (in the environment produced by the human pet trade) has improved the "design" of that animal. Of course that improvement only exists within the pet trade environment and as long as there is demand. Most of those changes would perform extremely poorly in a more "wild" environment (including a lot of color morphs in snakes). Now you could argue against selecting for a trait that increases the possibility of suffering in an individual animal possessing that trait on ethical grounds. I could definitely get behind a view that breeding a trait that increases the possibility of an animal suffering is unethical, but that ship is sailed. As Magdalen has pointed out, there are many breeds of dogs that may suffer from the traits we've selected for, but people want them anyway, including members of my family, despite me trying to persuade them otherwise.