What Happened to The Python From Britney Spears' Iconic 'I'm a Slave 4 U' Performance?
Britney Spears has served countless iconic moments over the course of her career. Whether they’ve been fashion moments (such as her infamous denim-on-denim red carpet look with Justin Timberlake) or times in her personal life, Spears has always managed to keep people talking.
Britney Spears had many iconic performances
Some of Spears’ biggest moments happen where she comes alive: the stage. She’s had many performances that stand out in people’s mind to this day, some for better reasons than others.
In 2003, Spears teamed up with fellow pop princess Christina Aguilera for an electrifying performance with the Queen of Pop, Madonna. They performed Madge’s singles “Like a Virgin” and “Hollywood” and had the audience on their feet. The most memorable part of the number was when Madonna gave a kiss to both Spears and Aguilera mid-performance.
Unfortunately, one Spears performance that people won’t forget is when she stumbled through “Gimme More” at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. Spears was in the midst of a public breakdown, and what was supposed to be her comeback performance ended up being memorable for all the wrong reasons.
The VMA performance that had everyone talking
There’s one Britney Spears performance that no one will every forget.
At the 2001 VMAs, Spears performed a sexy rendition of “I’m a Slave 4 U,” set in a rainforest and complete with several wild animals. (Among the animal handlers onstage was Tiger King star Doc Antle.)
At one point during the performance, Spears picked up a seven-foot albino Burmese python, draped it around her neck, and strutted across the stage, all while keeping the snake under control. Spears named the female python Banana.
Where is the python today?
Banana became a superstar overnight and has inspired countless Halloween costumes to this day. Burmese pythons often live to be more than 20 years old, and fans everywhere have wondered what ever happened to Banana.
Back in 2012, Spears conducted her own search for the snake on Twitter; she was able to track her down and let fans know about her name. Four years later, MTV News conducted an exhaustive search for Banana in honor of the 15th anniversary of the iconic “Slave 4 U” performance.
It turns out that Banana wasn’t the python’s real name; it was what Spears named her for the performance, but the actual snake didn’t have a name. Handler Mike Hano confirmed in 2016 that the snake was alive and living with a friend.
“It’s a lot bigger now,” Hano said. He estimated that she was 20–25 pounds in 2001 and was roughly 100 pounds and nearly 15 feet in 2016. “It was young then. Burmese pythons that size are not even sexually mature yet,” he continued. “They can reach that size in their first year of life, so it was nowhere near full-grown at that time.”
Hano was impressed with Spears’ commitment to the gig, despite her having a deadly fear of snakes. “She seemed like she was a really hard worker and very determined,” he said. “She was scared of snakes, and this thing was right around her neck, and she had to dance with it on live television in front of millions of people.”
“She was afraid of the snake, but she forced herself to handle it, and she did a really great job.”
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