The UK's Paradise Wildlife Park announced the birth three Tenrec babies! Born to mom Maisy on the 10th of July, these prickly little balls look a lot like Hedgehogs... but are, in fact, completely unrelated! They have simply evolved the same method of defense, which is to roll up in a ball so that predators are met with only their outer coat of prickles. This is called convergent evolution, a process by which organisms not closely related independently evolve to have similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches.
Tenrecs hail from the island of Madagascar but can be found in areas on the African mainland as well. They live and forage for food up in the trees, so they are particularly good climbers. They tend to be omnivorous, the largest part of their diets being comprised of invertebrates. Most species are nocturnal; while their eyesight is not that sharp, their other senses are very well developed. Their whiskers are especially sensitive, aiding them as they move around branches and leaves in the dark.
The new babies are in the farmyard section and can often be seen out and about by lucky guests.
See more pictures of the Baby Tenrecs, after the fold: