Kenya 22: Aardvark
(issued 12-12-1966)
Animals (A-Z)

September 18-24, 2021

Peter Y. Chou

Mozambique Co. 179: Zebra
(issued 5-16-1937)

Preface: While sleeping September 18, 2021, thought about animals A-Z, one for each letter of the alphabet. Have to find a postage stamp for each of the animals. Links to interesting facts and poems or stories about the animals. After waking up, found a web site AZAnimals listing hundreds of animals from A-Z. Filled gaps with Xerus and Umbrellabird. Below is an outline for a children's book on animals. Information source from Wikipedia.

Mauritania 141: Aardvark
(issued 7-6-1963)
Aardvark: (Orycteropus afer), is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal native to Africa. A nocturnal feeder, it subsists on ants and termites, which it will dig out of their hills using its sharp claws and powerful legs. Aardvark is the first word in many dictionaries.

A Animals: albatross, alligator, angelfish, ant, anteater, armadillo, avocet

Canada 1694: Grizzly Bear
(issued 10-15-1997)
Bear: (Ursus). A carnivoran mammal with 8 species extant. Polar bear is mostly carnivorous, and giant panda feeds almost entirely on bamboo, the remaining six species are omnivorous with varied diets. Despite their heavy build and awkward gait, they are adept runners, climbers, and swimmers. Bears use shelters, such as caves as their dens with long period of hibernation, up to 100 days. Constellations of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, great and little bears, are named for their resemblance to bears. Popular fairy tale by Robert Southey, "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" (1837).

B Animals: barn owl, bat, beaver, bee, bluejay, buffalo, butterfly

Australia 1223: Cat
(issued 7-25-1991)
Cat: (Felis catus) is a domestic species of small carnivorous mammal. It can either be a house cat, a farm cat or a feral cat; the latter ranges freely and avoids human contact. Cats were first domesticated in the Near East around 7500 BC. In ancient Egypt, cats were venerated around 3100 BC. As of 2021, there are 220 million owned and 480 million stray cats in the world. About 60 cat breeds are recognized. Average lifespan of pet cats has risen from 7 years (1980s) to 15.1 years in 2018. Dr. Seuss's children's book The Cat in the Hat (1957) sold over 10 million copies by 2007. Lewis Caroll's Cheshire Cat has a mischievous grin in Alice in Wonderland (1865). Cat in the Window; Poem: "Cat in the Tree" (Notes).

C Animals: camel, canary, carp, centipede, chameleon, cheetah,
chicken, chimpanzee, cicada, coelacanth, cow, coyote, crab

Hungary 1151: Dog
(issued 3-17-1956)
Dog: (Canis familiaris) is a domesticated descendant of the grey wolf, characterized by an upturning tail. The dog was the first species to be domesticated, by hunter-gatherers over 15,000 years ago, before the development of agriculture. Dogs perform many roles for humans, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and the military, companionship, therapy, and aiding disabled people. They are called "man's best friend." Dogs are the most variable mammal on earth with around 450 recognized dog breeds. The typical lifespan of dogs ranges from 10 to 13 years. In 2013, an estimated global dog population was between 700 million and 987 million. Survey in 2009-2010, an estimated 77.5 million people in the U.S. have pet dogs. Tom T. Hall's "Old Dogs" song.

D Animals: deer, dolphin, donkey, dragonfly, duck

Angola 364: Elephant
(issued 8-15-1953)
Elephant: (Elephantidae)— the largest existing land animals.
Three living species are currently recognised: African bush elephant, African forest elephant, & Asian elephant. Elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild. They have self-awareness, and show empathy for dying and family members (When Elephants Weep). African bush elephants are the largest species, with males being 10-11 ft tall at the shoulder The Hindu god, elephant-headed Ganesha ("Remover of obstacles"), is more popular than supreme gods Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma. "Babar the Elephant" is a children's book (1931) by Jean de Brunhoff. "Dumbo" is a 1941 animated fantasy Disney film. Elephant poem; Elephant postage stamps.

E Animals: eagle, eel, elk, emu, ermine, English Setter

U.S. 2335: Red Fox
(issued 6-13-1987)
Fox: (Vulpes vulpes)— medium-sized, omnivorous mammals belonging to several genera of the family Canidae. They have a flattened skull, upright triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned snout, and a long bushy tail. Most common and widespread species of fox is the red fox.
In the wild, typical lifespan of a fox is 1-3 years, although they may live up to ten years. In Western folklore, foxes are symbols of cunning and trickery— a reputation derived especially from their reputed ability to evade hunters. In Asian folklore, foxes are depicted as familiar spirits possessing magic powers. The constellation Vulpecula represents a fox, located inside the "Summer Triangle" of Altair, Deneb, and Vega.
Aesop Tales; The fox is a special friend to The Little Prince (Ch. 21).

F Animals: falcon, firefly, flamingo, flounder, fly, fox terrier, frog

Angola 381: Giraffe
(issued 8-15-1953)
Giraffe: (Giraffa camelopardalis)— is an African artiodactyl mammal, the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant. Giraffe's chief characteristics are its extremely long neck and legs, its horn-like ossicones, and its distinctive coat patterns. Fully grown giraffes stand 14.1-18.7 ft tall. Average weight is 2,628 lb for an adult male. Giraffes inhabit savannahs and open woodlands. Food source is leaves, fruits & flowers of woody plants, primarily acacia species, which they browse at heights most other herbivores cannot reach. They live up to 38 years. Estimates in 2016 show 97,500 members of Giraffa in the wild. More than 1,600 were kept in zoos in 2010. Giraffes at SF Zoo 2019 (1, 2, 3)

G Animals: gazelle, German shepherd, goat, golden retriever,
goose, gopher, gorilla, grasshopper, great blue heron, greyhound.

U.S. 2643: Hummingbird
(issued 6-15-1992)
Hummingbird: birds native to the Americas and comprise the biological family Trochilidae. With 360 species, they occur from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, with most found in the tropics. They are small birds, 3-5 inches in length. Smallest extant hummingbird species is the 2 inches bee hummingbird, weighing less than 0.07 oz. Largest hummingbird species is the 9.1 inches giant hummingbird, weighing 0.63-0.85 oz. Specialized for feeding on flower nectar, but also consume flying insects or spiders. Known as hummingbirds because of humming sound created by their beating wings, which flap at high frequencies audible to humans. Hover in midair at rapid wing-flapping rates, varying from 12 beats per second in the largest species to 80 per second in small hummingbirds. Their top speeds exceed 34 mph. Lifespan is 3 to 5 years. One of Nazca Lines depicts a 300 feet hummingbird. Anita's Hummingbirds

H Animals: hamster, hare, hedgehog, hermit crab, heron,
hippopotamus, horse, house wren, humpback whale, hyena.

Angola 367: Impala
(issued 8-15-1953)
Impala: (Aepyceros melampus)— is a medium-sized antelope found in eastern and southern Africa. The impala reaches 28-36 inches at the shoulder and weighs 88-168 lbs. It features a glossy, reddish brown coat. The male's slender, lyre-shaped horns are 18-36 inches long. The impala is an important prey species for several carnivores, such as cheetahs, leopards and lions. The antelope displays two characteristic leaps— it can jump up to 9.8 ft, over vegetation & even other impala, covering distances of up to 33 ft. The impala inhabits woodlands due to its preference for shade, places near water sources are preferred. As of 2008, the population of the common impala has been estimated at around two million.

I Animals: ibex, ibis, iguana, Indian elephant, Irish doodle

Ryukyu Islands 80: Jellyfish
(issued 7-1-1960)
Jellyfish: (Chrysaora fuscescens)— are the informal common names given to the medusa-phase of certain gelatinous members of the subphylum Medusozoa, a major part of the phylum Cnidaria. Jellyfish are mainly free-swimming marine animals with umbrella-shaped bells and trailing tentacles, although a few are anchored to the seabed by stalks rather than being mobile. The bell can pulsate to provide propulsion for highly efficient locomotion. Tentacles are armed with stinging cells and may be used to capture prey and defend against predators. Jellyfish have been in existence for at least 500 million years, and possibly 700 million years or more, making them the oldest multi-organ animal group. In China and Japan, jellyfish are a delicacy, some are dried to prevent spoiling.

J Animals: jackal, jack rabbit, jaguar, Japanese beetle

Australia 171: Koala
(issued October 1940)
Koala: (Phascolarctos cinereus)— is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. It is the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae and its closest living relatives are the wombats, which are members of the family Vombatidae. The koala is found in coastal areas of the mainland's eastern and southern regions, inhabiting Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. It is easily recognisable by its stout, tailless body and large head with round, fluffy ears and large, spoon-shaped nose. The koala has a body length of 24-33 inches and weighs 9-33 lbs. Koalas may live from 13 to 18 years in the wild. In 2020, estimated population 50,000. Obama with Koala (11-15-2014).

K Animals: kangaroo, killer whale, king cobra, kingfisher,
king penguin, Komodo dragon, krill, kudu

South Africa 247: Lion
(issued 2-14-1961)
Lion: (Panthera leo)— is a large felid of the genus Panthera native to Africa and India. It has a muscular, deep-chested body, short, rounded head, round ears, and a hairy tuft at the end of its tail. Adult male lions are larger than females & have a prominent mane. It is a social species, forming groups called prides. Estimates of African lion population range between 16,500 and 47,000 living in the wild (2004). The heraldic lion is common in British arms and Finland. Lion King film (2019).

L Animals: ladybug, lemur, leopard, Lhasa Apso,
llama, lobster, locust, lynx

China 713: Monkey
(issued 9-25-1963)
Monkey: is a common name that may refer to most mammals of the infraorder Simiiformes, also known as the simians. Traditionally, all animals in the group now known as simians are counted as monkeys except the apes, a grouping known as paraphyletic; however in the broader sense based on cladistics, apes (Hominoidea) are also included. Monkeys range in size from the pygmy marmoset, which can be as small as 4.6 inches with a 6.8 inches tail & just over 3.5 oz in weight, to the male mandrill, almost 3.3 ft long & weighing up to 79 lbs. The Monkey is the 9th in the 12-year cycle of animals in the Chinese zodiac. Monkey Year People; "Monkey Thinking" poem

M Animals: macaw, magpie, mallard, mandrill, marmot, mayfly,
mink, mole, moose, moth, mourning dove, mouse, mule, muskrat

Canada 480: Narwhal
(issued 4-10-1968)
Narwhale: (Monodon monoceros)— is a medium-sized toothed whale that possesses a large "tusk" from a protruding canine tooth. Lives in Arctic waters around Greenland, Canada, & Russia. Excluding the tusk, it can range from 13 to 18 ft long. Narwhals can live up to 50 years. Medieval Europeans believed narwhal tusks to be horns from the legendary unicorn. As these horns were considered to have magic powers, such as curing melancholia & neutralising poison, Vikings were able to sell them for many times their weight in gold.

N Animals: newt, nightingale, Norfolk terrier

North Borneo 186: Orangutan
(issued 1-1-1931)
Orangutan: (Pongo pygmaeus)— are great apes native to the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia. They are now found only in parts of Borneo and Sumatra. The most arboreal of the great apes, orangutans spend most of their time in trees. They have proportionally long arms and short legs, and have reddish-brown hair covering their bodies. Adult males weigh about 165 lbs. Orangutans are the most solitary of the great apes, and are among the most intelligent primates. They can live over 30 years in the wild and in captivity. Estimates between 2000 and 2003 found 7,300 Sumatran orangutans and between 45,000 and 69,000 Bornean orangutans remain in the wild. In the film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), Maurice, a Borneo orangutan, was a loyal friend & advisor to the leader Caesar fighting the humans.

O Animals: ocelot, octopus, okapi, opposum, ostrich, otter, owl, oyster

China 709: Panda
(issued 8-5-1963)
Panda: (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)— is a bear native to South Central China. It is characterised by its bold black-and-white coat and rotund body. The name "giant panda" is sometimes used to distinguish it from the red panda, a neighboring musteloid. the giant panda is a folivore, with bamboo shoots and leaves making up more than 99% of its diet. In 2005, the wild giant panda population had increased by 268, or 16.8%, to 1,864. A 2007 report showed 239 pandas living in captivity inside China. As of December 2014, 49 giant pandas lived in captivity outside China, living in 18 zoos in 13 different countries. Since 1982 giant panda appeared on gold bullion coins. Ling Ling in Tokyo Zoo.

P Animals: panther, parakeet, parrot, peacock, pelican, penguin,
peregrine falcon, pheasant, pig, pigeon, platypus, polar bear,
poodle, porcupine, porpoise, puffin, puma

U.S. 1957: Quail
(issued 4-14-1982)
Quail: (Coturnix ypsilophora)— is a collective name for several genera of mid-sized birds generally placed in the order Galliformes. California quail (Callipepla californica)— is a small ground-dwelling bird in the New World quail family. These birds have a curving crest or plume, made of six feathers, that droops forward: black in males and brown in females; the flanks are brown with white streaks. Males have a dark brown cap and a black face with a brown back, a grey-blue chest and a light brown belly. The California quail is a highly sociable bird that often gathers in small flocks known as "coveys". The California quail is the state bird of California. It was established as the state bird in 1932. Quail eggs are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. Cans of quail eggs sold in Chinese groceries stores. Quails may be seen on Bay Area hiking trails.

Q Animals: quagga, quetzal, quokka, Queen Victoria Riflebird

Bulgaria 1004: Rabbit
(issued 4-5-1958)
Rabbit: (Oryctolagus cuniculus)— are small mammals in the family Leporidae. It includes European rabbit species & its descendants, the world's 305 breeds of domestic rabbit. Male rabbits are called bucks; females are called does. Hares are larger than rabbits, with ears more elongated, and hind legs larger & longer. Hares have not been domesticated, while descendants of European rabbit are bred as livestock and kept as pets. Easter Bunny Hunt; Rabbit in Teapot; Poem (2013).

R Animals: raccoon, rat, rattlesnake, red fox, reindeer,
rhinoceros, robin, rockfish, rodents, rottweiler, Russell terrier

Russia 2219: Swan
(issued 12-25-1959)
Swan: (Cygnus olor)— are birds of the family Anatidae within the genus Cygnus. Swan's closest relatives include the geese and ducks. Swans usually mate for life. Mute swan, trumpeter swan, and whooper swan, have length of over 59 inches and weigh over 33 lbs. Wingspans can be over 10 ft.
Swan Song: Swan Lake; Camille Saint-Saens' "The Swan".

S Animals: saber-toothed tiger, sable, Saint Bernard, salamander, salmon, sawfish, scorpion, seagull, sea lion, seahorse, seal, shark, sheep, Shih Tzu, shrimp, Siberian tiger, skunk, sloth, snail, snake, snowy owl, sparrow, sperm whale, spider, squid, squirrel, starfish, stingray, sturgeon

India 365: Tiger
(issued 10-7-1963)
Tiger: (Panthera tigris)— is the largest living cat species and a member of the genus Panthera. It is recognisable for its dark vertical stripes on orange-brown fur with a lighter underside.
It is an apex predator, preying on deer & wild boar. Territorial and a solitary but social predator, requiring large contiguous areas of habitat. In 2015, global wild tiger population numbered between 3,062 and 3,948, with most of them living in India. Tiger is 3rd in the 12-year cycle of animals in Chinese zodiac. Blake's "Tyger" poem (1794); Tiger Balm; Tiger Year People.

T Animals: tapir, Tasmanian Devil, termite, terrier,
tiger shark, tortoise, toucan, tsetse fly, tuna, turkey

Peru C337: Umbrellabird
(issued 6-19-1972)
Umbrellabird: (Cephalopterus penduliger)— are birds in the genus Cephalopterus. They are found in rainforests of Central and South America. With a total length of 14-19.5 inches, they are among the largest members of the cotinga family, and the male Amazonian umbrellabird is the largest passerine in South America. They are almost entirely black, and have a conspicuous crest on the top of their head, vaguely resembling an umbrella (hence their common name). All have an inflatable wattle on the neck, which serves to amplify their loud, booming calls. This wattle may reach a length of 14 inches in the long-wattled umbrellabird. They produce one of the deepest songs (less than 300 Hz) among passerines. Females are smaller & have a reduced crest and wattle. They feed on fruits, large insects and small lizards.

U Animals: uakari, uguisu, utonagan, Ultramarine Flycatcher
Unicoloured Blackbird, Upland Sandpiper, Ursula's Sunbird

Jugoslavia 404: Vulture
(issued 6-30-1954)
Vulture: (Gypaetus barbatus)— is a bird of prey that scavenges on carrion. There are 23 extant species of vulture (including Condors). Old World vultures include 16 living species native to Europe, Africa, and Asia; New World vultures are restricted to North and South America and consist of seven identified species, all belonging to Cathartidae family.
A characteristic of many vultures is a bald, unfeathered head. This bare skin is thought to keep the head clean when feeding, and also plays an important role in thermoregulation. A Persian dakhma, also known as a Tower of Silence, is a circular, raised structure built by Zoroastrians for excarnation— the exposure of human dead bodies for consumption by vultures. "The vulture and the little girl" photograph by Kevin Carter, won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography award in 1994.

V Animals: vampire bat, vaquita, vervet monkey, vizsla

Fenando Poo B3: Whale
(issued 12-29-1960)
Whale: (Cetacea)— are a widely distributed and diverse group of fully aquatic placental marine mammals. Whales, dolphins and porpoises belong to the order Cetartiodactyla. Whales are fully aquatic, open-ocean creatures: they feed, mate, give birth, suckle and raise their young at sea. The 98 ft and 210 short tons blue whale, is the largest known creature that has ever lived. Sperm whale is largest toothed predator on earth. Herman Melville's Moby Dick (1851) features a "great white whale" as main antagonist for Ahab, who eventually is killed by it. Recording of "Song with a Humpback Whale" by marine scientists became popular in 1970. Alan Hovhaness's orchestral composition "And God Created Great Whales" (1970) includes the recorded sounds of humpback and bowhead whales.

W Animals: walrus, warthog, wasp, water buffalo, weasel, Welsh terrier, whooping crane, wildebeest, wolf, wolverine, wombat, woodpecker, wooly mammoth

Afars & Issas 314: Xerus
(issued 9-25-1967)
Xerus: (Xerus rutilus)— is a tribe of ground squirrels occurring in Africa and Asia. With the tribes Marmotini (Holarctic ground squirrels) and Protoxerini (African tree squirrels), they form the subfamily Xerinae. There are five living genera— Xerus, the unstriped ground squirrel; Euxerus, the unstriped ground squirrel; Geosciurus, the Cape and mountain ground squirrels; Atlantoxerus, containing the living Barbary ground squirrel of North Africa and some extinct species; and Spermophilopsis, containing the long-clawed ground squirrel of Central Asia. The squirrels live in open woodlands, grasslands, or rocky country. They are diurnal and terrestrial, living in burrows. Their diet is roots, seeds, fruits, pods, grains, insects, small vertebrates and bird eggs.

X Animals: Xantus' becard, xerus, Xolmis dominicanus, xoloitzcuintli

Bhutan 7: Yak
(issued 10-10-1962)
Yak: (Bos grunniens)— is a long-haired domesticated cattle found throughout Himalayan region of the Indian subcontinent, the Tibetan Plateau, Northern Myanmar, Yunnan, Sichuan and as far north as Mongolia and Siberia. It is descended from the wild yak (Bos mutus). Yaks are heavily built animals with bulky frames, sturdy legs, rounded, cloven hooves, and extremely dense, long fur that hangs down lower than the belly. While wild yaks are dark, blackish to brown, domestic yaks have patches of rusty brown and cream. In parts of Tibet and Karakorum, yak racing is a form of entertainment at traditional festivals and is considered an important part of their culture.

Y Animals: yellowfin tuna, Yeticrab, Yorkshire terrier

Nyassa 170: Zebra
(issued 1-1-1921)
Zebra: (Eqqus quagga). With their distinctive black-and-white stripes, zebras are among the most recognisable mammals. They are depicted in rock art in Southern Africa dating from 28,000 to 20,000 years ago. The zebra can reach a speed of 42.5 mph compared to 35.8 mph for the lion. Zebras eat primarily grasses and sedges but may also consume bark, leaves, buds, fruits, and roots. Longevity: Zebra's average lifespan in the wild is 25 years. Photos of zebras at San Francisco Zoo 2019 (1, 2)

Z Animals: zebra finch, zebra shark, zebu.

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© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (9-24-2021)