I carve lots of snakes on walking sticks and canes and I have always painted the snakes to look as life like as I possibly can, however a few months ago I had a request from a customer to create a carved snake cane, but paint the snake in very bright colors.
I put a picture of the cane with the bright painted snake and it has been a hit.
Since, then I have sold quite a few of the bright colored snakes. Most people don't care if there is a snake that's colored the color of the snake on the cane, they just think it's pretty.
Have you had anything simular happen?