Stamp-collecting news and notes
BY DOMINIC SAMA
Knight Ridder Newspapers
(KRT) - October is National Stamp Collecting Month, when the U.S. Postal Service annually issues commemoratives with designs aimed at drawing young people to the hobby.
Many youngsters will be captivated by the strip of five 37-cent stamps being issued Oct. 7. The designs feature a snake, salamander, lizard, frog and turtle.
Issuance of the self-adhesive stamps of reptiles and amphibians also will "help educate the public about something we feel is very important, the environment," said Azeezaly Jaffer, vice president of public affairs and communications for the Postal Service.
While many people fear reptiles and amphibians, the creatures are beneficial in their own way to humans and the environment.
The scarlet kingsnake, actually red, black and yellow and found in the Southeastern and South-Central United States, is harmless but is a powerful constrictor. It preys on venomous snakes and is immune to their venom.
The blue-spotted salamander, which ranges the Northeast and Great Lakes regions, stays under cover in moist soil during the day and emerges at night for food and predators on the forest floor. Its name is taken from blue spots on its shiny black body.
The reticulate collared lizard, which resides in the thorny brush of the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas, can move on its hind legs when in a hurry. Its collar is a vertical black bar on the sides of its neck.
The ornate chorus frog, found in the Southern U.S. coast plain and north Florida, is a noctural amphibian that is more often heard than seen. The frog has black or dark brown spots on its sides but can vary from tan or brown to green, or be a mixture of these hues.
The ornate box turtle, which roams the Central and Southwestern regions, usually emerges from rainstorms in heavy numbers because it burrows to escape heat. When predators appear, the turtle closes its entire shell since it has a hinged plastron (lower shell).
First-day ceremonies will be held at the San Diego Zoo.
First-day requests go to Reptiles and Amphibians Stamps, Postmaster, Box 509903, San Diego, Calif., 92150-9903. Information is available at www.USPS.com.
(Dominic Sama is stamps columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer; write to him at the Philadelphia Inquirer, P.O. Box 8263, Philadelphia, PA 19101.)
© 2003, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
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I want some stamps.. lol