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Old 03-18-17, 10:35 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec-2014
Location: Denver
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Re: Do you like scaleless snakes?

Originally Posted by whistlepig View Post
Here I assume you're talking about scales and color morphs? I'll concede that the selective forces acting on scales are most likely stronger than those acting on color and pattern, but both benefit in a captive situation, allowing higher levels of survival and reproduction then they would achieve in a wild setting (relative to the wild type morphs).

This can be true, but as long as there is demand for these scale-less snakes, that becomes the over-riding selective force acting on them in captivity and it creates an evolutionarily stable environment for the trait allowing them to survive and reproduce, even while being more prone to injury and infection than scaled snakes. The same thing is true for something like a pug, where known health and breathing issues don't stop the breed from thriving in captivity.
By this argument all the health issues in dogs that are due to selective breeding, like incresed likelyhood of cancer and diplasia, are warranted because people still buy the animals. Natural selection and human selection are two different things because natural selection selects for survivability and human selection selects for our sensibilities, often to the detriment of the animal. I don't think our hobby should look to dog breeders for guidance, but use more discretion when selecting which traits to breed for.

Originally Posted by Jeffco View Post
I'm not personally a fan of scaleless snakes (or morphs in general) but I do think it's important to point a few things out. Scaleless snakes were first discovered in the 1940s (first was a garter I think) and have been found in the wild on numerous occasions. They were found at different stages of life including adult, so they can survive in the wild, although it is not a trait that would be selected for obviously. Also there has been no evidence that they do a poorer job retaining water than snakes with scales. For me it boils down to personal preference. I don't like morphs, although I'll sometimes see one that looks awesome, with leucistic and hypo generally standing out depending on species. Having a snake with a wobble would drive me crazy. But before assuming scaleless are deformed or ill adapted to life I think it is important to look at their history.
Your argument is that because they have survived in the wild that they are not less fit?
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