Today we have a kooky and spooky looking creature direct from the island of Madagascar called an aye-aye (suggested by previous Guest Doodlewasher Barbara Nigg!). They are super rare animals that are actually primates, which means they’re related to apes, chimpanzees, and well… you and me! Yeah, that’s a super weird fact. Try not to think about it too much. Unlike their relatives, they’re primarily active at night, so though small in size, this makes them the largest nocturnal primate in the world.
Discovered by French naturalist Louise-Jean-Marie Daubenton, nobody is quite sure how they ended up with the name “aya-aye.” One theory suggests that it was a cry of astonishment which another French naturalist coined upon hearing the locals react to the creature. A second idea, is that it comes from “heh heh” which is a Malagasy phrase that means, “I don’t know.” Though it’s equally likely it was just a obvious response to naturalists constantly asking confused locals, “What is the hell is that thing?”
It’s numbers are in decline, because even though the natives didn’t know what the hell it was, they were certain it must be evil. Aye-ayes have an elongated middle finger, which can move independently, and is meant for scooping insect larvae out of trees. But if one points it at you it’s said to be a sign that you will die, and the only way to escape the curse is to, of course, kill the aye-aye on sight and hang it upside down. This unfortunate superstition along with deforesting have made these little creatures an endangered species. If you have a suggestion for an uncommon creature to doodlewash next, please shout it out in the comments!
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham watercolors: Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Azo Orange, Quinacridone Gold, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Opera Rose. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal
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Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!