Nicki Minaj's would be "Anaconda" co-star -- the snake that bit a dancer during Friday's rehearsal -- did not get the chance to strike a second time … and TMZ got the shot of the reptile getting 86'd just hours before the VMAs.
Sources at VMA rehearsals tell us the offending python was at the L.A. Forum today -- just in case Nicki, her team and MTV felt comfortable going forward with the performance as planned.
But we're told the final decision was made to cut the snake a few hours before show time, and handlers loaded the rejected serpent into a container and unceremoniously removed it from the premises.
Sometimes showbiz bites.
By the way, nobody was thinking about the snake once Nicki hit the stage.