Nocturnal animals of Namibia featured on stamps

Nocturnal animals of Namibia featured on stamps

Nampost issued a sheetlet of 6 stamps featuring the nocturnal animals of Namibia. The beautifully designed and attractive stamps have an octagonal shape, they feature: Southern Lesser Galago, Cape Porcupine, Small-spotted Genet, Ground Pangolin, Aardvark and Aardwolf.

Southern Lesser Galagos are probably the most numerous primate in Africa, and can be found in every large forest on the continent. Galagos also prefer savannahs, woodlands, riverine bush and the fringes of forests. They mark their territory by urinating on their hands and leaving traces on the trees they climb across, and they follow these detectable paths through the trees night after night, males will also urinate on females to mark them.

Cape porcupines are the largest rodents in southern Africa and also the world's largest porcupines. They are heavily built animals, with stocky bodies, short limbs, and an inconspicuous tail. The body is covered in long spines, interspersed with thicker, sharply pointed, defence quills long, and with bristly, blackish or brownish fur. The spines on the tail are hollow, and used to make a rattling sound to scare away predators.

An erectile crest of long, bristly hairs runs from the top of the head down to the shoulders. The spines and quills cover the back and flanks of the animal, starting about a third of the way down the body, and continuing onto the tail. The quills have multiple bands of black and white along their length, and grow from regularly spaced grooves along the animal's body; each groove holding five to eight quills. The remainder of the animal, including the undersides, is covered with dark hair.

Small-spotted Genet is a mammal related to civets and linsangs. A secretive, nocturnal species, the small-spotted genet inhabits rocky terrain with caves, dense scrubland, pine forests, and marshland. This handsome, feline-looking animal has a pale grey and black spotted coat, with a long striped tail. Like all genets, it has a small head, large ears and eyes, and short legs with retractable claws. Males are larger than females, and juveniles are darker grey.

Ground Pangolin can be found in southern and eastern Africa. Although it is present over quite a large area, it is rare throughout it and notoriously difficult to spot. Its scarcity is partly because it is hunted by humans for its scales, which are used in love charms, and partly because it is often burnt in bush fires. It is covered in extremely hard scales. When threatened, it usually will roll up into a ball thus protecting its vulnerable belly. The scales on the tail can also be used as blades to slash at attackers. The ground pangolin can grow to a length of about 1 m. It has a disproportionately small head, powerful hind legs, and small fore legs. It is largely nocturnal, although it is also terrestrial, and usually found in savanna or open woodland, generally feeding on termites or ants.

Aardvark is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal native to Africa. The name comes from earlier Afrikaans (erdvark) and means "earth pig" or "ground pig", because of its burrowing habits. The aardvark is vaguely pig-like in appearance. Its body is stout with a prominently arched back and is sparsely covered with coarse hairs. The limbs are of moderate length, with the rear legs being longer than the forelegs. The front feet have lost the pollex, resulting in four toes, while the rear feet have all five toes. Each toe bears a large, robust nail, which is somewhat flattened and shovel-like, and appears to be intermediate between a claw and a hoof. The aardvark is pale yellowish-gray in color and often stained reddish-brown by soil. The aardvark's coat is thin, and the animal's primary protection is its tough skin.

Aardwolf is a small, insectivorous mammal, native to East Africa and Southern Africa. Its name means "earth wolf" in the Afrikaans / Dutch language. The aardwolf resembles a very thin striped hyena, but with a more slender muzzle, black vertical stripes on a coat of yellowish fur, and a long, distinct mane down the midline of the neck and back.

The mane is raised during confrontations in order to make the aardwolves appear larger. The aardwolf has two anal glands that secrete a musky fluid for marking territory and for communicating with other aardwolves. Aardwolves live in open, dry plains and bushland, avoiding mountainous areas. Aardwolves are shy and nocturnal, sleeping in underground burrows by day.

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