The Unending Journey: Ardie and Me

Been meaning to start up a topic here for a while to both document my, as of this writing, 4-month-old beardie, Ardbert (or Ardie, as he's affectionately called) and share some funny shenanigans we get up to that aren't necessarily caught on camera. Life was pretty hectic the past month, alas, between a new baby dragon and personal things, so I unfortunately missed my chance to live post.

Thankfully, I do keep an Instagram for Ardie compiling the choicest photos and some commentary, so I'll put a link over here (which can also be found in my signature): https://www.instagram.com/lizardoflight/

Anyways, a little background on his name: Ardbert is the name of a character from the MMO, Final Fantasy XIV who has become a pretty big comfort character for me, especially after the reveal that he's the Warrior of Light's (player character's) soul (fragment) counterpart in a parallel world where he is one of their Warriors of Light. Eventually in the story, he would serve to play a crucial role in saving your soul from being overwhelmed and you rejoin as one entity.

Okay, funny enough: the initial Morph Market listing (which I was browsing with the intent to just get an idea of what colors/morphs I like) that caught my eye wasn't Ardie himself so much as his brother, who had a more peachy hue against dark tan. But 2 hours after I inquired after him, he was sold. Disheartened after being all excited, I poked around the breeder's other listings and immediately a similar looking boy caught my eye. He was a much brighter orange/tangerine, but he still had plenty enough natural browns mixed in. And then his description, of being a curious fella who loves climbing around and exploring, just immediately hit the right chord for me.

The original name I had in mind was "Emet-Selch" (another FFXIV character; specifically the villain for Shadowbringers who is VERY relatable in many respects), but it just didn't feel right for him (or his brother, whom I was considering and made the connection for). Then I realized "Ardbert" is perfect! And that's the story of how I decided on a name before I finally got him. Took about a week before I could make the transaction, but it just solidified even more to me that he was "The One".

On September 28, 2020, which is also my birthday, I made the transaction. On October 2, 2020, Little Ardie arrived safely to my door from FedEx. And boy was he so true to his description, because he started investigating his enclosure not longer after he was put in. He was not scared of my little Chihuahua when she barked at him and scratched the glass (still had my Thrive then and it was on the floor). In fact, he actually seemed drawn to her and scratched back at her on the glass on Day 2. Of course I just had to let him out since he wanted to so much, and those two were fast friends. :lol:

It's been over a month now, and he's STILL an adventurous spirit, always eager to run straight towards any nook and cranny that looks interesting to him. In fact, he's exploring my desk as I write this post and I had to pause a few times to move him from the edges. XD

I have a few more fun stories to share, but I'll leave it at this for now. And also this little name inspiration edit I'm a little too proud of despite the simple work:

Zt6WvNt.jpg
 

Lizard of Light

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Ardbert
Yesterday, I discovered that superworms apparently LOVE carrots because I stuck a baby carrot into their container the night before and the next morning there was not a single trace of it left. :shock:

On that note, I think Ardbert is on a super fix because yesterday he would only eat one (1) large dubia and then ate only supers for protein. But he did take a couple bites of his salad on his own (I had been largely handfeeding him greens until this point) from the bowl yesterday, first time specifically going for a piece of green and second time I'm not sure if he was actually aiming at the little super and happened to grab the leaf or he meant to grab both since he did get both in his mouth but the worm fell out as he was chewing the leaf.

Fortunately, today he seems to have calmed down somewhat on his superworm craze and ate more roaches again (even if he still chowed down happily on a lot of tiny supers; enjoy it while you can, buddy because I am never letting you eat that many of them at once when you're a dragon grown >;P).

Still, I'm probably going to order more supers (why can't stores carry smalls too? ><;) and maybe some butterworms as a holiday treat~

He still doesn't want his phoenix worms, alas. He wouldn't take silk worms either so I had to give away my remainder to my dad's herpe colleague, whose own beardie apparently chowed down on 8 of my giant worms, lol! Here's hoping he warms up to phoenix worms again though.

Anyways, right now, Ardie has fallen asleep under my jacket while I kick back with dinner, the last Trials of Apollo book, and typing this post, lol. Can't wait for his Snuggle Sling to arrive so he doesn't have to stress about a good safe spot to snooze and cuddle at (every time he climbed up to my shoulder or back of my neck the last few days, he had a lot of stress marks, F).

Oh wait, I just checked and he has stress marks now. Which promptly faded as soon as I pulled him out onto my belly. Ardie, why do you keep putting yourself in stressful situations and NOT get out of them????? ;w;
 

Lizard of Light

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Ardbert
I can't believe I forgot to mention I decided to take advantage of his super-crazy phase today to try to teach him his name and come. It may or may not have worked. :lol:
 

Faith331

Member
Mine is still learning to trust me. I don't know what he got exposed to in his previous home, but he's very nervous of the other animals, and the tv, and outside...

I'm sorry your baby won't eat phoenix worms, mine chows down on them.. like a lot..

Which reminds me, it's time to order more dubias and phoenix worms. I also haven't gotten a chance to try super worms.. but I have given him some hornworms as a treat. Also, mine doesn't seem to like any fruit, but I'll have to try the same trick I used to get him to eat squash
 

Lizard of Light

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Ardbert
Faith331":7zurpnht said:
Mine is still learning to trust me. I don't know what he got exposed to in his previous home, but he's very nervous of the other animals, and the tv, and outside...

I'm sorry your baby won't eat phoenix worms, mine chows down on them.. like a lot..

Which reminds me, it's time to order more dubias and phoenix worms. I also haven't gotten a chance to try super worms.. but I have given him some hornworms as a treat. Also, mine doesn't seem to like any fruit, but I'll have to try the same trick I used to get him to eat squash

Oh, Ardie loved phoenix worms too in his first month. But those were also his main staple with a side of silks so not surprisingly, I think he got sick of them, LOL.

He'll probably come around EVENTUALLY. I just hope my phoenix worms aren't all flies by then (not that he minds chasing flies; that time I had 3 flies emerge, he was in full HUNT MODE. I wish I could have caught his stalking on camera because boy did he love it.

The first fly, he snapped up in front of me (though I didn't spot the fly going in directly, I saw him chewing after snapping something up midair). The second fly, after repeated bad luck catching it and Fly #3, he went all the way over to the cool end, waited for the flies to land on his rock, crept to the base, paused......and CHARGED right into them. One fly made the mistake of banking near his mouth and got eaten. The other escaped, but presumably was eaten later when I wasn't there because no more fly. :lol:

Of course, that happened in his old top-opening tank with the only means of escape being the feeder flap. I'm not confident I can keep any flies in with my front-opening Exo-Terra but maybe his fly catching will have improved by then. He kinda won't eat any other feeders anyway until he catches the Hard Mode Prey. :lol:
 

Faith331

Member
Poggerna":2xyjf23q said:
Faith331":2xyjf23q said:
Mine is still learning to trust me. I don't know what he got exposed to in his previous home, but he's very nervous of the other animals, and the tv, and outside...

I'm sorry your baby won't eat phoenix worms, mine chows down on them.. like a lot..

Which reminds me, it's time to order more dubias and phoenix worms. I also haven't gotten a chance to try super worms.. but I have given him some hornworms as a treat. Also, mine doesn't seem to like any fruit, but I'll have to try the same trick I used to get him to eat squash

Oh, Ardie loved phoenix worms too in his first month. But those were also his main staple with a side of silks so not surprisingly, I think he got sick of them, LOL.

He'll probably come around EVENTUALLY. I just hope my phoenix worms aren't all flies by then (not that he minds chasing flies; that time I had 3 flies emerge, he was in full HUNT MODE. I wish I could have caught his stalking on camera because boy did he love it.

The first fly, he snapped up in front of me (though I didn't spot the fly going in directly, I saw him chewing after snapping something up midair). The second fly, after repeated bad luck catching it and Fly #3, he went all the way over to the cool end, waited for the flies to land on his rock, crept to the base, paused......and CHARGED right into them. One fly made the mistake of banking near his mouth and got eaten. The other escaped, but presumably was eaten later when I wasn't there because no more fly. :lol:

Of course, that happened in his old top-opening tank with the only means of escape being the feeder flap. I'm not confident I can keep any flies in with my front-opening Exo-Terra but maybe his fly catching will have improved by then. He kinda won't eat any other feeders anyway until he catches the Hard Mode Prey. :lol:
Adorable! There are people who intentionally let them become flies because they are slow enough to catch. It's good enrichment.

Also, to prevent them from growing/changing into flies, you can keep them at 50-60F, in the fridge can kill them, so I don't recommend that
 

Lizard of Light

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Ardbert
Ardie just hopped up his first stair step today, HUZZAH!!!! \o/

In other news, he apparently really likes bok choy because he's been happily chomping down on the leaves I offer the past few days. The greens are also pretty fresh though, so I'm actually starting to wonder if the reason he's so hit and miss with his greens is because he's particular about freshness since beardies can tell on sight how fresh produce is. Would explain why he'd be enthusiastic for the first few days straight but after about a week or so, refuses to even look at them (maybe he'd take a small taste but immediately nope away).

He turned 5 months yesterday as well, and I'm happy to see how much he's grown. Over 14 inches long and 130 g. Lately though, he hasn't been as crazy about his dubias and these past few days, has only eaten a total 4 (only 2 today). They are also all at least 1 inch, so not sure if that could be it. He always had room for the supers when they were still here, lol!

Speaking of my roaches, I finally realized I probably screwed up my plastic biscotti bin setup for them by not making my air holes more than slits at the top, oops. Lots of condensation inside as a result, so I ended up putting them back in their original container and getting rid of the rotting egg carton pieces.

Had a handful of dubias dying so gonna be more careful. I did however order 200 more from DubiaRoaches.com along with dubia food and dew this time (had just been tossing them carrots) and see if I'll have my fatalities drop to none or close enough.

Also included hornworms with this shipment and I hope Ardie will love them without going nuts like with every new(ish) feeder I give him. :lol:

He's still not too into phoenix worms now unless they're solid black, but I was dumb and didn't seal the lids right yesterday so they spilled out in the cooler bag I had them in. I just decided to dump them all out and stick them in the feeder dish and see if he'll eat them again when he's hungry in the morning.

Back on Ardie himself, he seems to be pretty energetic these past few days as well given how much he's been blackbearding and stressmarking while he stares at his reflection in the glass. I tried covering the sides with paper towel before, but it made zero difference because he only does this when he's too hyper. Though today, he was randomly blackbearding after his nice long stroll outside the tank that included hopping up one step, so I'm questioning if maybe he's just in the early stages of puberty.

I've never seen him actually headbob or armwave before though. But he definitely is acting territorial if I don't help him burn off all that energy. Not much I can do, I guess, if he's still getting mad after long walks. He calmed down on his own later so I think habituating works when he's not full of energy.

Welp, here's hoping for another month of growth and adventures.
 

Lizard of Light

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Ardbert
Little stinker has been stubborn about holding out for supers lately, but I gave gotten even more stubborn and actually just stand at his tank with the dubias in his rock-like but not escape-proof bowl until his prey drive finally kicks in and he goes down to eat them.

He must eat at least 2 before I give him supers. Working for the most part so far, and he doesn't eat much supers anyway after a full course of bok choy (he actually managed to chomp down to the stem today!) and dubias. No more than 4 or 5 before he's stuffed. I've also gut loaded the supers plenty these past couple days with baby carrots, bits of zucchini, and the leftover bok choy stems, all of which were gone today. So, hopefully that helps cover him nutritionally with supers since these have been in their guts within the last 24 hours. :lol:

On that note, Ardie has been well for the most part. He tends to sleep at about 7:30 PM lately and then doesn't seem to want to get up until around noon (though I'd drag him out of his hide if he's still in their by 11, lol). Hilariously, he fell asleep at his basking site last night, and this morning decided to go into his hide an hour after the light went on. XD

I of course did not let him and put him back up so he can get to proper feeding temperature. :twisted:

He's looking a lot thicker at the body lately. I wonder if that's always the first spot to thicken before a growth spurt? He's certainly lost some pudge at his jowls again despite regularly eating, so I suspect that's what's up.

Now, if I can think of some good inspiration for more Instagram photos. It's been stagnating a bit lately in terms of follower count (and content). orz
 

Lizard of Light

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Ardbert
I was going ti put Ardie back into his enclosure after a good couple hours of snuggling, but he refused ro go back in and now he’s drowsily trying to keep an eye from inside the sling in case I try again. :lol:

Moments like this remind me that he loves me and never fail to make me melt.

That said, I am a tad worried about his food intake and growth lately. He doesn’t eat more the. 6-7 bugs a day now, even if they are large roaches and supers that are an inch or more long. And he’ll eat a whole bok choy leaf. He only grew an inch in December, which is down from the previous 2-3 inches in the months I’ve had him. But he isn’t losing weight; just been holding stable the past week at about 185-188 g. He has however hit 15.5 in quickly in the past week.

I might be worried over nothing but I feel a bit paranoid sometimes when I compare his growth to other beardies of a similar age.

I’ve put in an order for silkworms since I’m wondering if he may be tired of Dubia and supers bow, but here’s also hoping he’s not still tired of silks. I’m trying to avoid crickets as much as possible, but I may buy a small 30-count box at some point to give him some variety.

Still, he’s grown so much now compared to when I got him in October. Looking through the Instagram photos is a bit shocking honestly, haha.

I hope Ardie grows up to be a good big size.
 

Lizard of Light

Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Beardie name(s)
Ardbert
Been forever since I last posted, but hi, still alive! Just dead tired a lot lately and busy with life. Ardbert’s doing great; in fact, he’s living up to his name a little too well lately with how much he keeps scrambling to run off on an adventure in the house. :lol: Literally running around just a couple days ago too, lol!

He alternates hyper days with lazy days though, especially after getting a bellyful of bugs. Though he did have a span of time where he didn’t eat much, but made a lot of small poops. After he went on a cricket binge last week though, it’s back to slow bowels. And when he finally pooped today…it’s literally just brown water with a tiny smear of urate. I hope it’s nothing to be concerned about, but I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled until he finally gives me a big poop.(Edit from the future: he pooped for real this time, yay! \o/)

On a brighter note, his first birthday is coming soon! I’m planning on giving him some butterworms to celebrate, and hopefully I can time the delivery just right. Also need to work on his cosplay now that he’s big enough to wear clothes so we can do the little photoshoots I’ve planned for a while. Now if I can just power through my last bit of backlog and find the spoons to do that.

Anyways, have one of my favorite recent shots of him:
109463-532188779.jpg
It quickly became a favorite reaction image of mine too, thanks to those adorable TEEFS making him look like he’s going >;D
 

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