The animal on the cover of Designing Large-Scale LANs is a reindeer. Reindeer, or caribou, can be found in the arctic tundra, the mountain tundra, and the northern forests of North America, Russia, and Scandinavia. Though the wild caribou and the domesticated reindeer are members of the same species, North America is the only place where a naming distinction is made between the two. Reindeer were first domesticated in Europe and Asia about 5,000 years ago. Most domesticated reindeer come from that same stock, as more recent attempts to tame wild caribou have been unsuccessful. Once domesticated, reindeer were used as food, for their hides, and for transportation (some were saddled and ridden, while others pulled sleds).
Reindeer (or caribou)are the only members of the deer family in which both sexes grow antlers. After mating, adult bulls shed their antlers around November or December, while cows and young often carry their antlers throughout the entire winter. During growth, the antlers have a fuzzy covering,or velvet, which contains blood vessels that carry nutrients.
In addition to their antlers, reindeer have lateral hooves that allow their feet to spread on snow or soft ground. The hooves also act as paddles, making them excellent swimmers. Due to breeding, the colors of reindeer vary from white and gray to brown and black. Colors often vary even within the same herd.