Entertainment & Arts

Snake bites Nicki Minaj backup dancer during ‘Anaconda’ VMA rehearsal

Nicki Minaj
Minaj’s “Anaconda” video made headlines when it went viral this week, and the fact that one of her backup dancers was bitten by a giant snake during VMA rehearsals is getting just as much attention.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision/Associated Press)

Nicki Minaj’s rehearsal for the MTV Video Music Awards took an unexpected turn Friday night when a massive snake bit one of her backup dancers. 

The 6-foot-long boa constrictor, used as a prop during Minaj’s performance of “Anaconda,” sank its teeth into the inside of a backup dancer’s left arm while it hung around her shoulders, according to MTV News.

The dancer was swiftly treated by an on-site medic and later moved to a local hospital out of “an abundance of caution,” said Chris Velvin, director of production safety for Viacom Media Networks. “It is in no way life-threatening, but scary.” While the snake is nonvenomous, a bite untreated could lead to an infection.

As the incident unfolded onstage, Minaj, 31, asked, “Did she get bit by the snake?” before rushing to the back of the set to check on the dancer. 


Rocky the snake came from trained-animal company Hollywood Animals. A 15-year pro in the business, Rocky has been problem-free when it comes to biting incidents, the critter’s handler said. Still, a different snake is being sought for Minaj’s VMA performance on Sunday. 

Her upcoming performance of “Anaconda” continues to be a much-talked-about event, especially linked to the always risque VMAs. Already this week, Minaj’s booty-full jungle-themed music video generated viral buzz for its raunchy rawness and “strip-club-worthy suggestiveness,” as Pop & Hiss reported.

That suggestiveness has knocked Miley Cyrus off her “Wrecking Ball” record for the most views in 24 hours, according to Vevo, and slithered Miss Nicki Minaj to the top, with more than 19.6 million views in a day, compared with Cyrus’ 12.3 million.

Get our daily Entertainment newsletter