Britney Spears Got So Nervous For VMAs Snake Performance She ‘Got Hives’

Emily Brown

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Britney Spears Got So Nervous For VMAs Snake Performance She 'Got Hives'Getty Images/PA Images

Britney Spears allegedly claimed to have broken out in ‘hives’ while rehearsing for her iconic performance with a python at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards. 

Twenty years on, the image of Spears performing I’m a Slave 4 U while holding an albino Burmese python across her shoulders remains as impressive as it did when she first took to the stage with the seven-foot reptile.


Snake-wrangler Mike Hano, who worked on the performance, has revealed the show was actually even more impressive than it looked due to the fact Spears was ‘extremely, extremely scared at first’.

Britney Spears (PA Images)PA Images

Recalling the event to Yahoo! Entertainment, Hano admitted he was ‘very impressed with the way that she was able to just focus and force herself to do what she needed to do’ in order to pull off the appearance, which actually ‘could have been really risky’.

The handler explained there was potential that the snake would mistake the singer for live prey, explaining it ‘gets wrapped around your arm and doesn’t want to let go’.


This fact would no doubt be enough to put someone off even wanting to be in the same room as the snake – let alone perform on stage with it for the whole world to see – so it’s natural Spears was quite nervous to get going.

Hano explained that he requested alone time with the singer during rehearsals in an effort to help her ‘realise that it’s not a big deal to hold the snake’, but after doing so Spears is said to have told the handler that she ‘broke out in hives everywhere that the snake had touched her’.

The handler told Yahoo! that such a reaction is ‘really not possible’, but either way, she managed to overcome her fears and pull off the performance.


Two decades on, Hano remembered Spears as being ‘very professional, very focused’ and wished her the best in the future. As for the snake, which the singer later named ‘Banana’, she grew from seven feet to 15 feet and, as of 2020, was still living in upstate New York.

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Topics: Animals, Britney Spears, MTV, Now, python, snake


Yahoo! Entertainment
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Emily Brown
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