Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wildlife of Luxembourg - 2002

On September 14, 2002 , the second stamp set , dedicated to animals living in Luxembourg fields and forests, was issued by Luxembourg Post. The stamps depict the following species, painted by Belgian wildlife artist André Buzin such as : Red Fox, Pheasant, Hedgehog, and Deer.
The red fox (Fuuss)
The red fox (Fuuss) has a long history of association with humans, having been extensively hunted as a pest and furbearer for centuries, as well as being prominently represented in human folklore and mythology. Because of its widespread distribution and large population, the red fox is one of the most important furbearing animals harvested for the fur trade .

The red fox measures up to 100 cm in length (not including its tail of 40 cm), and can weigh up to 7 or 8 kg. This animal is easily recognizable by its ears and black paws, as well as the white tip of its tail. Its coat is generally brown-red, sometimes sprinkled with white patches.
The heightened senses of this carnivore allows it to live near human residences without attracting attention. Farm land with undergrowth and open fields provides it with hiding places while providing home to numerous rodents, the fox’s primary food.
Foxes, who live on average for twelve years, mate in the middle of winter. The red  fox gives birth to two to eight babies in an underground lair where the two parents care for their young for almost five weeks. When autumn arrives, the young leave their birthplace.

The hedgehog (Kéisecker)

The hedgehog is a small mammal whose back is covered with long, hard, and sharp quills and whose stomach is covered with soft fur.
It measures on average 25 cm in length and its colour varies from light brown to black. When it feels threatened, the hedgehog immediately rolls into a ball and its long quills spread out in every direction, providing an effective defensive position for the animal.

Hedgehogs are found in the daytime in hedges and woods; during the night they leave to go hunting. In summer, the hedgehog gives birth to one or two litters of four to eight babies.
Hedgehogs eat insects, worms, frogs, mice, and eggs.. European hedgehogs hibernate, but they may wake up and leave their nest to go hunting.

The pheasant (Fasan)
The pheasant (Fasan) is an admired game bird that lives mostly in grain fields, and flies rarely and feeds on insects, grains and plants. The most common species is the hunting pheasant, recognizable by the white ring around the neck of the male.

Pheasants are characterized by the great difference in appearance between the males and females: in contrast to the colorful plumage of the male, the female’s is generally drab and her tail is much shorter.

The deer (Hirsch)
The deer is a mammal that lives in Europe and Asia. It measures approximately 1.2 m in height at the withers, and has a brown-red coat and a short tail. The antlers of the male can have up to ten horns and they are shed each year; the females do not have antlers.
The males live alone or in groups, whereas the females and fawns move around in organized groups. Deer live in a variety of biomes ranging from tundra to the tropical rainforest. While often associated with forests, many deer are ecotone species that live in transitional areas between forests and thickets (for cover) and prairie and savanna (open space).
During mating season, the male associates with a group of females and fights off rival males. The female gives birth to a single fawn who remains with the mother until the age of two or three years.

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