The Lowland Streaked Tenrec

Lowland Streaked Tenrec Amazing Weird Animal from Madagascar with spikes watercolor sketch

This spiky little uncommon critter can only be found in Madagascar and is called the Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus). The most notable physical feature are the quills. The overall effect is like someone used a mouse as a pin cushion and decided it might look cuter painted to look a bit like a bumblebee. They’re small little guys at only 4.8-6.5 inches (12.2-16.5 cm) in length. The tenrec is built low and cool for sniffing around on the ground with its short limbs and long snout.

When in danger, barbed quills on the back of its neck point forward, and then it rushes its attacker giving them a rather violent session of involuntary facial acupuncture. The unbarbed quills on the back vibrate to produce a faint clattering sound used to communicate with family members. This type of “talking” is called stridulation, like when crickets rub their legs together, but the lowland streaked tenrec is the first mammal to use this method. And there’s a lot of chatter in their households as they have large families, which can consist of up to 15 members. When not going out, they like to all stay home and cuddle as a group.

The streaked tenrec is active during day and night, feeding primarily on insects. It likes to search the ground while stomping its feet to get things underneath the dirt to squirm and make themselves known. The long snoot works well for poking into the ground and under leaves in search of their creepy crawly cuisine. Though some species of Tenrec’s live in the water, and have been known to dine on small fish and frogs. Certainly an upgrade from wriggly worms.

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Azo Yellow, Azo Orange, Dioxazine Purple, Pyrrol Red, Cobalt Teal, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Susan Feniak 7 years ago

    Cute for a prickly beggar!! Nice doodlewash Charlie!

    • Author

      Yeah…don’t get super close to this guy though! He looks more cuddly than he actually is! Lol Thanks so much, Susan! 😃💕

  2. dapplegrey 7 years ago

    Extraordinary. Your creatures are getting curiouser and curiouser! I’m having trouble believing some of them which only goes to show that fact is stranger than fiction and a lot more interesting. This is a great series Charlie!

    • Author

      Thanks so much!! 😃😃Fact is far stranger than fiction I’m learning this month! Hehe… It’s really a curious world we live in.

  3. Jill Kuhn 7 years ago

    Wow! What a prickly pear sort of dude! 😜 Awesome doodlewash Charlie! 😃🎨👍💕

    • Author

      Thanks Jill! 😃💕haha! I love that description!! I think they should have named him “Prickly Pear Dude”… That would have been amazing!!

  4. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    Madagascar has/had the weirdest critters! I hope this psychedelic porcupine is not endangered at least. 🙂 It’s cute (though I know you made it that way)! <3

    • Author

      Thanks Teresa! 😃💕 Luckily this little guy is listed as Least Concern… and he also on the menu in some places I think. Well…places in Madagascar at least. But still…yikes on that!

  5. Teri C 7 years ago

    Charlie, are you making these creatures up? So bizarre. Guess I don’t get around much. Lol

    • Author

      What?!! You’ve never been to Madagascar?! Lol… Neither have I. It’s fun to “visit” these creatures in doodlewashes at least though!

  6. memadtwo 7 years ago

    Must be some interesting cuddles in that house! Adorable. (K)

  7. Sharon Mann 7 years ago

    What a sweet face, his prickly coat is beautiful. I love his toes. Thanks Charlie for a fun new character.

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon!! 😃💕Yeah…I really needed to get closer to adorable after that batfish before it. Sort of a palette cleanser, this one! Lol

  8. Jacob 7 years ago

    Well, he’s a distinctive fellow! The quills remind me of a porcupine. I too got the bumblebee vibe, though to me it initially looked as if someone had overindulged on hair gel for the little insect… and obviously removed its wings, but never mind about that. Whatever the story, he’s a charming character and this has been another fun lurch into the wilderness with Charlie O’Attenborough!

    • Author

      Thanks Jacob!! 😃Haha…love my new name! Yeah…I think he’s more bumblebee in real, but I couldn’t quite get it across as well when I was struggling with those darn spikes. Those are rough to doodlewash! Lol It was just a big mess when I started. I kept showing it to Philippe saying, “can you see an animal yet?!” 😊hehe

  9. Rob 7 years ago

    Interesting “cuddly” critter. The fun things we learn in art!

  10. M. L. Kappa 7 years ago

    Good one, Charlie! I swear your blog is like reading national Geographic! I googled him and you’ve got him down pat

    • Author

      Hehe! Thanks so much!! 😃💕Though I doubt National Geographic would describe things like I do. At least I’m never heard them use a term like “drag lips” to describe a fish. Lol 😊

  11. Wonderful, Charlie! I love how you’ve painted the quills on this chap.

    • Author

      Those were rough!! Hehe…so much more difficult to doodlewash than I expected. 😊 Glad you liked them Michael!!! 😃

  12. A spikey bee mouse….oh he is cute, but I think that cuddling up to him could be a painful experience. A new one for me, this little critter.

  13. The Leaf Diary 7 years ago

    Spikey yes but somehow I can’t help finding it cute. Nicely done!

  14. They all manage to be cute! I could see this one in Vegas on the Strip, flashing its cool black and yellow colors at us! Nice job with these creatures, Bro!

    • Author

      Hehe…not THAT would be a sight to see. I think they do quite a Vegas act with several of these animals. Lol Thanks so much Sis!! 😃💕

  15. Cathe 7 years ago

    I agree with Teresa, Madagascar is a great place to find such unique critters! This guy is so cool and weird! Impressive doodlewash Charlie!

  16. Jodi 7 years ago

    i’m glad they like to cuddle with each other because it would be hard for anyone else to want to cuddle with them 🙂 – cute little bugger!

    • Author

      Thanks Jodi! 😃💕 Lol… yeah… I’m thinking that you have to actually be another tenrec to enjoy a cuddle from one of these guys!

  17. dragofelagund 7 years ago

    Damn! This is amazing! I love things like this. Looks beautiful 🙂

  18. Kari 7 years ago

    How adorable! I’m just amazed by these unusual creatures you’ve been featuring. It’s like the ultimate experiment in genetics and evolution gone amuck! Love the blue and yellow together, so very striking and love your description! Lol

    • Author

      Thanks Kari! 😃💕They’re pretty wild aren’t they? I never heard of many of these creatures before. I liked this one though… it was kind of cute!

  19. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 7 years ago

    Cuddling with a tenrec – that ought to spice up the love life. Or should I say, SPIKE up the love life?
    Nicely painted, as always.

  20. kutukamus 7 years ago

    Is a place so far
    But that art
    Would make whatever that is
    Quite a star 🙂

  21. Curious to the Max 7 years ago

    When you’ve got a soft tummy
    and aren’t very tall
    only 3 toes
    and a whiskered nose
    it’s best to be prickly
    to exist at all.

  22. Akire Bubar 7 years ago

    Great doodlewash – and your descriptions are priceless! Love it! 😀

  23. artandmoondreams 7 years ago

    Adorable painting, such a cute subject, and their family sounds wonderful…cuddlers! Thank you for sharing a delightful beauty.

  24. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    Cool little animal I hadn’t been aware of. The spikes you’ve drawn make me want to keep my distance!

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