scaleless reptiles?

Discussion in 'General Discussion and Introductions' started by dogking, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. dogking HOTM Winner September

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    I figured that since BHB just produced the first genetic 100% scaleless ball python it would be a good time to ask you guys about your thoughts on scaleless reptiles? I personally think that they are ok in personal collections because the owner can give them the proper care to keep them healthy, but I don't think they should be specifically bred if the trait is detrimental to the animals health. I know other scaleless ball pythons have been produced, but they all died of health complications so it will be interesting to see if the one from BHB has the same problems. What do you guys think?

    P.S. I know that this can be a touchy subject so please try to be respectful to others and remember that everybody is entitled to their own opinion.
  2. Tim3skimo New Member

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  3. JEFFREH Administrator

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    A few points - my opinions entirely:

    1) All morphs are selectively bred traits that are quite often detrimental in nature. To say this trait is "unnatural" is silly. Its not like BHB spliced genes in a lab to create these animals; they resulted from a genetic, inheritable mutation.

    In nature - scaleless reptiles would be highly selected against and would suffer the consequence of not being able to reproduce to pass on these scaleless genes. The same is true for many "morphs" too. Think about it... a leucisctic ball python would be easy pickings for a predator compared to a more cryptic "normal/wildtype" ball python. There is a reason that wildtypes are so prevalent in nature; that color and pattern has been under the scrutiny of natural selection for hundreds-thousands of years.

    The morphs we create in the hobby are "special" because we selectively breed for traits that WE find attractive in pets. In nature, these animals would not survive (most likely). So I find those who highly oppose the "scaleless" mutation in regards to being 'unnatural' yet keep and breed morphs to be completely hypocritical.

    2) IF the mutation is in any way negative or detrimental to the immediate health of the snake then I am opposed to it. To breed for a trait that would not survive in nature is one thing, but if it cause harm to the animal even within a captive environment means that animal needs to be culled in my opinion. Breeding animals that are capable of living a happy, healthy life is one thing. Breeding animals purely for show despite having negative effects is just cruelty.

    So the real question is: can these snakes be kept under the same conditions as other BP's and still lead a normal and healthy life? Can they reproduce successfully? Feed, thermoregulate, and move about properly? These are the questions I am more interested in rather than the aesthetic quality of the animal.
    Cammy and StikyPaws312 like this.
  4. dogking HOTM Winner September

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    From the research I have done, it seems that the other scaleless ball pythons have died because of either feeding or poor movement. One of them had no heat pits because the skin developed over the holes, and the other one had no ventral scales so it had a tough time moving. As of now, BHB has only released the picture of it in the egg, and neither the head or the belly was visible. I believe they are going to highlight it the next SnakeBytesTV episode so we should be able to see a full view then. I am interested to see what Brian would do if the trait was detrimental to its health.

    I also read something about NERD while doing some research on the scaleless ball pythons that was very concerning. A while ago they produced a ball python that they called the "magpie" ball python. It's an incredible gene combination it terms of looks, but apparently the certain combo seemed to amplify the spider "wobble" to the point where it was having trouble moving. I haven't seen it with my own eyes, but the people who have said it's movement was so impaired that it "moves like a slinky". I surely hope that they won't try to replicate the combination in spite of it's horrible condition.
    Cammy likes this.
  5. Holmes New Member

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    I highly doubt this could be beneficial to the snake's movement. I know almost nothing of snakes, although my brother owns a ball python, but I do know that scales are almost essential to movement, if I am correct.

    This also reminds me of the "translucent" morph in chameleons. These chameleons are being bred to show patches of scales completely lacking pigment.

    Morphs are interesting, but can seriously hinder the animal's abilities as well.
    Cammy likes this.

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