A six-foot-long snake bit a dancer during a Friday afternoon (August 22) rehearsal for Nicki Minaj‘s “Anaconda” performance at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards.
Nicki was on stage when the incident occurred, but was not injured when the snake bit the female dancer.
According to Chris Velvin, director of production safety for Viacom Media Networks, the snake’s handler was watching the entire performance and the woman was treated immediately by an on-site medic. The dancer was transported to a local hospital out of “an abundance of caution,” Velvin said, though the wound was treated on site and is not life-threatening.
The snake, a Dumeril’s boa constrictor named Rocky who has been in the entertainment business for 15 years, bit the woman on the inside of her left arm and was removed from the stage by its handler after the incident. At press time the plan was to use a different snake, either another boa or a python, for Sunday’s live VMA performance.
During the rehearsal, the woman had the snake draped around her shoulders and, at some point, was bitten by the non-venomous, docile reptile known for wrapping tightly around its prey and squeezing. The music was stopped shortly after the dancer was bitten and a concerned Minaj said, “Did she get bit by the snake?”
Nicki quickly moved across the stage to check on the dancer, who was positioned toward the back of the set, to see if she was OK.
According to Velvin, the snake’s handler from Hollywood Animals said it had never had a biting incident before, and though its bite is non-venomous, the medic cleaned and treated the wound because with any bite there is a chance of infection. “It is in no way life-threatening, but scary,” said Velvin. “We wanted her to start getting treatment as soon as possible.”