OTTER, MT — Starting today, you can liven up your mail with new winter-themed stamps. Otters in Snow Forever stamps feature four scenes of alert and playful North American river otters reveling in a snowy landscape. Their antics are sure to bring a smile to your face and brighten your day.
The 20-stamp booklet features four otter images, each one delighting in winter’s white wonderland. The first image is an otter poking its head out of an icy body of water; the second shows an otter sliding on its back, tail first, down a snowbank; the third depicts an otter, belly up, facing the viewer, sliding down a snowbank; and the fourth shows an otter chest-deep in a snowdrift.
The stamps are now available at Post Office locations across the country or online at usps.com/shopstamps. News of the Otters in Snow stamps are being shared with the hashtag #OttersInSnow.
The playful North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) can be found in riparian areas throughout most of the United States and Canada, often in the same areas as beavers. These otters prefer freshwater habitats but can also be found in saltwater.
This elegantly long and sleek mammal is designed for life in and around the water, no matter the season. In addition to having webbed feet, an otter has a muscular tail, measuring about 40 percent of its body length, that powers it in swimming and diving. Otters may look a bit awkward when walking on land, but they are nothing but graceful as they twist and loop through the water, slide down snowbanks or romp in the snow. This “play” helps them strengthen social bonds, hone hunting skills, and mark territory.
Otters eat fish, crayfish, insects, and even hibernating frogs and turtles as part of their winter diet. Otters are known for their fastidious grooming habits, which help them survive. When they clean their dense, double-layered coats, the animals trap air beneath the fur, which insulates them against the frosty winter air and keeps them warm in freezing water.
The original illustrations were rendered in pen and ink with watercolor, in a color palette consisting of shades of brown for the otters, with black for facial features and crosshatching. The wintry background is white, with blue water, light blue, and violet shadows, and black crosshatching.
The stamps are arranged in blocks of four with each stamp depicting an otter in different poses. On the two left-hand stamps of each block, the words “USA” and “Forever” appear in the upper-left corner, in a lowercase sans serif italic font. On the two right-hand stamps, those words are in the upper-right corner. The word “Forever” is in brown and “USA” is in gray on all four stamps.
Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamps with artwork from illustrator John Burgoyne.
The Otters in Snow stamps are being issued as Forever stamps and sold in booklets of 20. Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.
A pictorial postmark of the designated first-day-of-issue city, Otter, MT, is available by visiting the Otter Post Office, 268 Otter Creek Road, Otter MT, 59062. The postmark is also available online at usps.com/shopstamps.