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Old 09-09-17, 06:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

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While I'd never own one scaleless snakes are not only the result of strict inbreeding and many in more specific colubrid groups post them in any typical enclosure designs with no special precautions. Things like susceptibility to parasites and external health problems has been discussed occasionally, there was a thread on mites in the pituophis group and one on corns overall in the general colubrid group in the past month, and those who have them say it's been no more of a care issue than their scaled snakes. About all that comes up is whether some are hybrids and not being marketed truly as such when it matters to some people.

The fact they don't make a stable population in the wild is no different than the many morph colors that don't make a population in the wild and heck even endangered species since they can no longer meet the requirements to survive even if they once did. Should we stop keeping everything that's natural food source has become too scarce or no longer has enough suitable land to reproduce on because like morphs they can't make a wild population anymore? Plus many of the traits that create benefits of buying cb individuals over wc make them unable to survive back in the wild again anyway so it's not really a good argument for anything. They aren't in the wild with those requirements of predation and finding suitable food and surroundings so I care about their ability to live normal in captivity only. You can inbreed any typical wild looking snakes with normal scales into health issues too. You can do it with anything. Whether someone inbreeds to the point of problems or not is the breeder not the morph. It just tends to happen more with morphs since people will still pay for unique even if it takes extreme measures to keep healthy or will always live a shorter lifespan. One reason in other species I prefer performance/working line animals and don't show anything that is only based on appearances. If they can't do their job they aren't worth more to people for some unique trait so people won't breed them unless they think they can eliminate the problems. Sometimes they will keep a new breed or type under strict control for decades before allowing other breeders and then the general public access to make sure they have created a stable population of healthy individuals again with the new trait. Some responsibly created dog breeds were kept hush for 50 years and some lines of performance horses with a recessive issue require genetic testing to be released with the papers or you know someone is hiding something to try to get their money despite a positive result. It can be done to the benefit of the animal or not no matter what it is. It doesn't mean they are all that way. Unfortunately much of it is only kept in check by the buyers and whether there is still a market for it or selling something with a genetic problem regardless of its' other traits ruins your reputation instead.
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Old 09-09-17, 06:05 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

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I see no issue with finding these very slightly disabled animals homes, and certainly don't think they should be culled.
I certainly agree when the animal has unfortunately been born like this naturally, but strongly disagree when it's purposefully done to produce something 'unique'. This is just my opinion, but all designer morphs have something missing (I mean animals that have been repeatedly inbred to achieve a desired look). Not to go on a rant, but it makes me laugh when breeders post their latest offerings on this or that SNS saying that they have 'created' or 'produced' a new morph/combo as if they've improved on something designed by millennia of evolution.
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Old 09-09-17, 07:52 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

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That may be your opinion, but I strongly disagree to do selective breeding for deformities and other negative traits regardless if there is market for it. Not just specific to reptiles, but any animal. It can't possibly lead to anything good, and you're not making 'Happy animals' by selectively breeding them for these traits. They deserve a lot better than that.

Also, heatpits do not make up for true vision. That's similar as saying that hearing makes up for true vision in humans. They can detect something that is hotter or colder than the things around it, that's it basically.
Then you are entirely against any domesticated animal, including dogs or any food animal? Most if not all traits we have selected for would be a disadvantage to a wild animal. Also I believe it has been proven that the heat sensing is translated in the same area of the brain as optical images. Because of this It is thought that snakes see with a heat image overlaying an optical image. Meaning that if they lose optical sight they will still have a heat image, somewhat like a thermal camera. This fits with most reports from people who have had experience with eyeless animals.
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Old 09-09-17, 10:17 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

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Then you are entirely against any domesticated animal, including dogs or any food animal?
Or most commercially available fruit and vegetables, but I'd rather have a wolf than a Chihuahua, just as I'd rather eat wild food than factory farmed. That's just my personal preference, but I think there are enough naturally available choices out there to avoid the need to breed what are essentially freaks. Obviously not everyone has the same viewpoint. Just as long as they don't take over the hobby!
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Old 09-09-17, 11:16 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

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Unfortunately much of it is only kept in check by the buyers and whether there is still a market for it or selling something with a genetic problem regardless of its' other traits ruins your reputation instead.
I had originally decided to keep any disabled snakes I produced just so that I could give them the special care they needed, as I would consider it my responsibility since I brought them into the world. I don't like the idea of culling unless the animal has a serious deformity or condition that ruins its quality of life and / or would soon kill it, such as a very badly kinked spine.

The fad of selectively breeding for eyeless snakes adds a whole new dimension to it. Once you've sold an animal to someone you no longer have any control over whether it gets bred or not. A buyer can swear up and down that they will never breed the snake and even sign a contract stating such. But ultimately you are relying on their adherence to that promise. If the buyer then sells the snake you have no idea what that person will do.

I saw a video a while back of the aforementioned breeder / proponent of eyeless snakes. At the time I don't think he was breeding them. He was feeding his snakes and mentioned offhand that this female albino ball python was born without eyes. IIRC he had to hold the rodent directly in front of her face so that she could smell and sense it and move to take it, then manually feed it to her so that she could swallow it head first. It was pretty clear to me that she had difficulty eating on her own and I remember thinking, "Poor critter. At least he's keeping her and going the extra mile to help her eat. Good for him." Little did I know that he would end up actually breeding for that disability for $$$.

Scaleless corns and scaled corns het for the mutation are all interspecies hybrids. The original scaleless corn was the mutant offspring of a corn snake bred to an Emory's rat snake, which is a closely related species. They are all descended from him.

I wouldn't buy nor intentionally breed for a scaleless snake as I consider this trait a deformity. Some disagree with me on this score, but it has remained my position. My reaction to seeing a scaleless corn for the first time was revulsion. I wondered why anyone would intentionally do that to a snake, leaving it naked and vulnerable by taking away its protective scales.
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Old 09-10-17, 03:32 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

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Then you are entirely against any domesticated animal, including dogs or any food animal? Most if not all traits we have selected for would be a disadvantage to a wild animal. Also I believe it has been proven that the heat sensing is translated in the same area of the brain as optical images. Because of this It is thought that snakes see with a heat image overlaying an optical image. Meaning that if they lose optical sight they will still have a heat image, somewhat like a thermal camera. This fits with most reports from people who have had experience with eyeless animals.
I'm against that type of breeding where 'cosmetic' reasons trump health, yes. Breeding children back to grandparents and whatnot other idiotic things. People playing with genetics they don't understand because they only look at a certain color pattern, but don't care whether or not they also create animals that are so weak they can't even breach the shell of an egg at birth or have a high chance of neurological issues. Whether it's snakes, dogs, cats, horses, whichever.
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Old 09-11-17, 08:58 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

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I'm against that type of breeding where 'cosmetic' reasons trump health, yes. Breeding children back to grandparents and whatnot other idiotic things. People playing with genetics they don't understand because they only look at a certain color pattern, but don't care whether or not they also create animals that are so weak they can't even breach the shell of an egg at birth or have a high chance of neurological issues. Whether it's snakes, dogs, cats, horses, whichever.
Do you own crested geckos? Bearded dragons? Carpet pythons?
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Old 09-11-17, 09:17 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

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I'm against that type of breeding where 'cosmetic' reasons trump health, yes. Breeding children back to grandparents and whatnot other idiotic things. People playing with genetics they don't understand because they only look at a certain color pattern, but don't care whether or not they also create animals that are so weak they can't even breach the shell of an egg at birth or have a high chance of neurological issues. Whether it's snakes, dogs, cats, horses, whichever.
It seems to me you are being a bit unfair in your condemnation of others breeding choices. Humans breed animals for the usefulness to the human itself with little consideration to the animals health wether that be to produce more food, run fast or just be aesthetically pleasing. To pick anyone one of these as unjust and not the others seems unreasonable. Truly I think there is more concern for health in the reptile hobby than was ever given to cattle and dogs during their development. You say they can not make it out of the egg, but they do. I am with you in that I think a snake should have scales, but how much is it really effecting the animals life in captivity? From what I have read very little, which as we neither have any personal experience, is all we have to go on. Now breeding snakes that have neurological issues, especially when the offspring can be born or develop into an animal that can not survive, is in my opinion an entirely different animal. Still I don't entirely condemn any person who breeds such animals, but chose not to myself.
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Old 09-11-17, 09:52 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

My take:

Scaleless or eyeless? No thanks. Anything with a wobble or other neurological issue? Nope. Anything that needs help pipping? Also a hard no, it's gotta hatch on it's own. Breeding anything that has a kink, even if it was just an incubation issue? Again...no. Hybrids? No...can't control what a buyer does with them or how they are sold or flipped after you no longer have them. Morphs? Yes, why not? Unless someone is taking an active part in the reintroduction of a species in the wild or involved in some kind of funded legitimate conservation effort, which I don't think ANYONE on here is, I fail to see the issue with morphs. Inbreeding is an integral part of the foundation of speciation in nature and doesn't create a problem when it comes to captive propogation of reptiles except when it comes to certain one-off's such as drymarchon. Outcrossing is of course always encouraged but unless someone is having DNA testing done on their stock, there is no way to ensure that individuals are [mostly] unrelated.

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Old 09-11-17, 11:55 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

Simple color morphs are where I draw the line. Even there, I very often prefer "wild type" to any morph. I really don't get the fascination with scaleless snakes and I certainly don't care for any other physical deformity. Even the two-headed snakes. It's interesting that it happens, but I have zero desire to own one.
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Old 09-11-17, 01:32 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

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Originally Posted by SerpentineDream View Post
I had originally decided to keep any disabled snakes I produced just so that I could give them the special care they needed, as I would consider it my responsibility since I brought them into the world. I don't like the idea of culling unless the animal has a serious deformity or condition that ruins its quality of life and / or would soon kill it, such as a very badly kinked spine.

The fad of selectively breeding for eyeless snakes adds a whole new dimension to it. Once you've sold an animal to someone you no longer have any control over whether it gets bred or not. A buyer can swear up and down that they will never breed the snake and even sign a contract stating such. But ultimately you are relying on their adherence to that promise. If the buyer then sells the snake you have no idea what that person will do.

I saw a video a while back of the aforementioned breeder / proponent of eyeless snakes. At the time I don't think he was breeding them. He was feeding his snakes and mentioned offhand that this female albino ball python was born without eyes. IIRC he had to hold the rodent directly in front of her face so that she could smell and sense it and move to take it, then manually feed it to her so that she could swallow it head first. It was pretty clear to me that she had difficulty eating on her own and I remember thinking, "Poor critter. At least he's keeping her and going the extra mile to help her eat. Good for him." Little did I know that he would end up actually breeding for that disability for $$$.

Scaleless corns and scaled corns het for the mutation are all interspecies hybrids. The original scaleless corn was the mutant offspring of a corn snake bred to an Emory's rat snake, which is a closely related species. They are all descended from him.

I wouldn't buy nor intentionally breed for a scaleless snake as I consider this trait a deformity. Some disagree with me on this score, but it has remained my position. My reaction to seeing a scaleless corn for the first time was revulsion. I wondered why anyone would intentionally do that to a snake, leaving it naked and vulnerable by taking away its protective scales.
I am not aware of anyone breeding for eyeless snakes, and I am not even sure it is possible. From what I understand it is not thought to be genetic, at least in ball pythons, because it pops up randomly in many lines. Most of what I have read points to it being a developmental issue in the egg.

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Simple color morphs are where I draw the line. Even there, I very often prefer "wild type" to any morph. I really don't get the fascination with scaleless snakes and I certainly don't care for any other physical deformity. Even the two-headed snakes. It's interesting that it happens, but I have zero desire to own one.
Two headed snakes seem like a ton of work to keep alive in my opinion.
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Old 09-11-17, 05:41 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

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Scaleless or eyeless? No thanks. Anything with a wobble or other neurological issue? Nope. Anything that needs help pipping? Also a hard no, it's gotta hatch on it's own. Breeding anything that has a kink, even if it was just an incubation issue? Again...no. Hybrids? No...can't control what a buyer does with them or how they are sold or flipped after you no longer have them. Morphs? Yes, why not? Unless someone is taking an active part in the reintroduction of a species in the wild or involved in some kind of funded legitimate conservation effort, which I don't think ANYONE on here is, I fail to see the issue with morphs. Inbreeding is an integral part of the foundation of speciation in nature and doesn't create a problem when it comes to captive propogation of reptiles except when it comes to certain one-off's such as drymarchon. Outcrossing is of course always encouraged but unless someone is having DNA testing done on their stock, there is no way to ensure that individuals are [mostly] unrelated.
That's pretty much my view exactly, although I don't have a problem with hybrids as long as the species involved have similar husbandry requirements and are responsibly cared for. I'm not a fan of inbreeding, especially when it's done excessively. Then again, what I consider excessive may be acceptable from a biological standpoint. I don't know enough about genetics and still have a lot to learn. I suppose there's a higher likelihood of inbreeding amongst wild populations than there is of hybridism. Double standards? Now I don't know what I think!
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Old 09-12-17, 09:52 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

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@mink - breeders, who have a strong financial interest in moving on these abominations, would be the very last people on earth I'd ask to justify their creating these animals. If there's a scientific paper on the subject I'm all ears. Breeder anecdotes are out.

Snakes have been around for 100,000's, even millions of years. There are thousands of snake species/sub species covering just about every land and sea mass on earth.

If being scaleless was a 'desirable' genetic trait then it is almost certain that a scaleless species - at least one species - would have evolved by now.

There are very very few adult scaleless snakes ever found and this alone suggests that they do not do well in the wild - the fact the garter was a juvenile is telling and it's very unlikely it would have survived into adulthood.

@serpentine - a certain breeder with the initials BB has started touting them.
1. There have been so many scaleless animals found in the wild. Texas rat snakes, corn snakes, burmese pythons, garter snakes, death adders and I'm sure there's more. These were all generally adults found. There's probably more out there we just haven't seen/found. I personally won't have them but I have come around to see what others see in them.

2. What are you talking about that Brian has been "touting" eyeless snakes and breeds for them? Have you actually watched his videos highlighting his eyeless snake? Most people see something and jump to the conclusions on this guy. He had some random genetic deformities come up in the clutch (shark mouth and 1 eyed snakes and 1 snake without any eyes.) He admits he think he messed up in the pairing of his animals. He goes on to talk about what happens with these animals and he says they keep them around and hopefully they establish themselves and if they do he finds them forever PET homes (doesn't sell them) with a strong encouragement to not breed the animals.

I know he's made mistakes in the past and he isn't well like but you have to call the good with the bad and in my books him not destroying the animals and giving them a chance at a life is good.
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Old 09-12-17, 12:15 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

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1. There have been so many scaleless animals found in the wild. Texas rat snakes, corn snakes, burmese pythons, garter snakes, death adders and I'm sure there's more. These were all generally adults found. There's probably more out there we just haven't seen/found. I personally won't have them but I have come around to see what others see in them.

2. What are you talking about that Brian has been "touting" eyeless snakes and breeds for them? Have you actually watched his videos highlighting his eyeless snake? Most people see something and jump to the conclusions on this guy. He had some random genetic deformities come up in the clutch (shark mouth and 1 eyed snakes and 1 snake without any eyes.) He admits he think he messed up in the pairing of his animals. He goes on to talk about what happens with these animals and he says they keep them around and hopefully they establish themselves and if they do he finds them forever PET homes (doesn't sell them) with a strong encouragement to not breed the animals.

I know he's made mistakes in the past and he isn't well like but you have to call the good with the bad and in my books him not destroying the animals and giving them a chance at a life is good.
Yeah...there's a lot that Brian does that I can't agree with, but sometimes the accusations that get thrown around are ridiculous and purely false. Yet another witch hunt.

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Old 09-12-17, 04:48 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: What's the deal with scaleless snakes?

I am *very* happy that turns out to be mistaken.
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