Sophia July 03, 2001 - February 07, 2015


   To those of you this matter concerns, I sadly announce to you all that Sophia, my gentle giant green anaconda and goddess of the moonlight, has passed away today, February 7, 2015. Those of you who knew her best came by, sometimes regularly, to spend time with us, played with and embraced her warm presence by wrestling on the sofas or attempting to stand alone with our giant friend. She taught us all valuable lessons, gave us fun memories, and brought many people together in awareness of her sweet demeanor. I raised her since she was 3 days old and enjoyed every loving moment. For yours truly, its like losing a daughter.

   More than a pet or showpiece, Sophia became internationally appreciated by any one who gave her a chance to teach them about the unknown, reaching their hearts and awareness of understanding their fears.

   Sophia was also a sociological and ecological message, proven by the fact that so many of you have reached me to either spend time with her and going to reptile shows or pet shops to purchase your own snakes or rescuing unwanted reptiles. I recognize all your support and I thank you all during this sad time.

   For now, please enjoy "In the Light" by Led Zeppelin as we send Sophia to that very final destination. This particular song is as sexy, smooth and rolling as my great Sophia was as she posed for me magically to the rhythm of this beautiful song, more so than any other model Ive painted over the many years together. Sophia, you were my muse and daughter and I will always remember the lessons Ive learned with you. I love you always Sophie, my feather in the wind. I will chase you with all of my love, to you child. Rest "in the light" baby Sophie.

---Chuck Burnham "The Dark Ride Artist"

Sophia. So many words come to mind when I hear that name. Breathtaking. Beautiful. Stunning to say the least. Many people would say “wow”, or “she’s huge!” To me and people who knew her well, she was our friend; our beautifully silky anaconda.
It takes tender loving care to bring up any reptile, but Sophia was different. She was a queen in her own respect. She was loved by many, and she’ll be missed by many.
Enjoy your trip over the “rainbow bridge” Sophia. Some day we’ll meet again. Until then, rest in peace my beautiful anaconda, my silky friend, my queen.
We will stand by you always Chuck.
— Stephenie Berube
Sophia. A monster, some would say, but for all her size, some couldn’t see her. Visitors would gawk and gasp in wondrous fear, but few would ever be near her. Gazing at her great coils, all 16 of them, her silent dark stare, some would see their own mortality. Magnificent. A living metaphor we all grew to admire, respect and even love. Nature’s ferocious strength subdued by her gentle handler and friend to the misunderstood, Chuck.
Still, few would ever be near her; close enough to feel the softness of her scales, the gentleness in her serpent sinews, and the 200 pound weight of her great strength. Curved like a living line of an artists graceful brush, she lived in innocence and inspired all who had the wisdom to see beyond death in her dark, sable eyes. You will be missed Sophie. Rest in peace, oh great teacher of myth, love and understanding. A masterpiece of nature.
— Tabitha Hujar
Inspiration: an epiphany or example that makes one motivated to strive to better an idea of one’s goal; a muse.
After knowing Chuck for two decades, this is the only word that comes to my mind when i remember what Sophia meant to my very good friend Chuck each day of his life. Chuck, I know you loved and lived to serve her. I wish you peace in your big heart my friend.
— Leszek Gawecki
Although I didnt know her for long, the time that I had with Sophia the anaconda was priceless. She was instantly a beloved family member after I had held her for the first and only time with Leszek, Scott, and my cousin, Chuck.
Holding Sophia was a walk on the wild side; Anacondas have a reputation to kill, and they are extremely intimidating. Bewildering is the word I should use to describe the experience.
Sophia was the sweetest reptile that Chuck has ever owned; she will be missed by many.
— Frank Baixauli
I would like to thank both Sophia and Chuck for teaching me about the beauty and grace of reptiles. I have always been fascinated by them but would always photograph from afar, afraid to get too close. Sophia showed me what a gentle, accepting spirit she had. People would see my photographs of her and be amazed that I would touch such a fearsome creature! To me she was like a friend that I would visit and enjoy. She will be missed!
— Kathryn Frederick
Sophia was a friendly snake but wasnt like any other. Chuck loved her like if it was more than just a snake. I remember when it took at least five people to hold Sophia and Chuck would Sophia all by himself and when I saw that she did nothing to him, I knew that people made it out to be that snakes are so bad but she was one of a kind. Chuck loved every one of his animals but Sophia, well I used to be scared of her because she was so big and when Chuck took her out and I started feeling her smooth skin, she didnt do a thing and Chuck taught me how any animal can be friendly in its own way.
Sophia was so cute; she had her own space and was treated very well. I was very young when Chuck first got her and I’ve been in Chuck’s life since I was a little baby.
I remember when I was just a little girl and he brought Sophia to my school for reptile presentations and she was only five feet long! She was really tiny then just like me at the time. You can say Chuck’s my uncle because he always brought his reptiles to my school to make me happy. Out of everyone that knows him, I know him the best when it came to animals. My dad used to take me over to his house and watch every single animal he had get treated with love and care.
Like I said, I was scared of snakes but when Chuck let me pet Sophia I was in love with snakes after. She will be missed by many but I remember always seeing her every time I would go see my uncle Chuck. She was loved by many. Chuck, you know my family and I are there for you through it all and we love you. Rest in peace Sophia. You will be missed especially by me because you were my first love in snakes.
— Kayla Schwartz
Seems like so long ago that my brother Chuck would bring home some new reptile and show me everything I needed to know about it. Most little sisters would probably scream, but Chuck was patient and excited to teach me about the wonders of nature; the beauty of it. I know that he was proud of Sophia, that such a magnificent and beautiful creature could teach so many, awe, and inspire as she has done for him. Sophia will be missed, but the very fact that such perfection can exist will continue to impress upon those that were able to witness her. Rest in peace amazing one and thank you for the inspiration you gave.
— Roxane Burnham
Im not much of a reptile guy, but I could tell just how much Chuck and Sophia loved each other. The smile that would cross that man’s face when he would hold her was perfectly priceless. Sophia also seemed to smirk when Chuck’s scent embraced her senses. Its a shame she left before her time and my condolences go to Chuck’s heart. Rest in peace Sophia and I hope you get a breath of fresh air soon Chuck.
— Jacob Andrew Dodge