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What is a Cinnamon Bear?

By Steve R.
Updated Mar 05, 2024
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The cinnamon bear (Ursus americanus cinnamomum) is an omnivorous creature with big round ears and an elongated snout that can stand three feet (about .9 meters) tall at the shoulder and weigh between 200 and 600 pounds (about 91 to 272 kilograms). The bear typically has a life span of 30 years and lives in lowland and mountainous regions in North America. The creature, a subspecies of the black bear, gains its name from its thick coat of reddish brown fur.

The cinnamon bear possess climbing and swimming skills and can be found in mountainous states including Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming, as well as southwestern Canada. In its habitat, the bear is mostly vegetarian, relying on sticks, roots, acorns, berries, and plants to eat. Insects including ants and bees are often eaten with honey, and the bear also eats tiny rodents and the carcasses of dead animals it may come across. The cinnamon bear also supplements its diet by eating fish in lakes or rivers. Most of the bear's activity occurs at dawn or dusk. The creature also is capable of reaching speeds of 30 miles an hour (about 48 kph).

Adults are generally 50 to 80 inches (about 127 to 203 cm) in length, with males being typically larger than females. Females typically mature faster sexually. When females are four or five years of age, they are capable of reproducing. Males generally are sexually mature around five or six years of age. Cinnamon bears will typically mate in June and July.

After conceiving, a female cinnamon bear carries the babies for seven months before giving birth. During the gestation period, embryos develop during the last 10 weeks, usually around November. The delayed implantation allows the females to build up fat for her cubs during the winter months.

A mother bear will generally give birth to two to three cubs in January or February and will generally wait two years before having another litter. At birth, cubs weigh about half a pound (about .23 kilograms). During their first year, cubs may vary in weight. Depending on the availability of food, some cubs may weigh as little as 15 pounds (about 6.8 kilograms) or weigh as much as 165 pounds (about 74.8 kilograms). Mostly solitary creatures, cubs will stay with their mother for 17 months before the mother sends them out on their own.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a cinnamon bear?

A cinnamon bear is a color phase of the American black bear, not a separate species. These bears are named for their reddish-brown fur, which resembles the color of cinnamon. They are found in various parts of North America, particularly in the Rocky Mountains and western regions of the United States and Canada.

Are cinnamon bears a common occurrence in black bear populations?

Cinnamon bears are relatively common within black bear populations, especially in the western United States. The color variation is simply a result of a genetic trait that affects fur pigmentation. According to wildlife biologists, color phases like the cinnamon bear can occur in up to 20% of the black bear population in some areas.

Do cinnamon bears have the same diet and habits as black bears?

Yes, cinnamon bears share the same diet and habits as other American black bears. They are omnivorous and their diet includes plants, fruits, nuts, insects, and small mammals. They are also known for their ability to adapt to different habitats, from forests to mountainous regions, and exhibit similar hibernation patterns.

How can you safely observe cinnamon bears in the wild?

To safely observe cinnamon bears, maintain a respectful distance and use binoculars or a telephoto lens for a closer view. Never approach or feed wild bears, as this can be dangerous and alter their natural behavior. Always follow local guidelines and regulations when in bear country to ensure your safety and the bears' well-being.

What should you do if you encounter a cinnamon bear while hiking?

If you encounter a cinnamon bear while hiking, stay calm and avoid sudden movements. Speak in a calm, assertive voice to let the bear know you are human. Do not run, as this may trigger a chase response. Slowly back away, giving the bear plenty of space to retreat. Always carry bear spray as a precaution.

Are cinnamon bears protected under conservation laws?

Cinnamon bears, like all American black bears, are protected under various state and federal laws in the United States. These laws regulate hunting seasons, methods, and limits to ensure sustainable populations. In some regions, conservation efforts focus on habitat protection and reducing human-bear conflicts to help maintain healthy bear populations.

AllThingsNature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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