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Carnivore Zoology

Course CodeBEN219
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours

Learn to differentiate different species of carnivores. This course takes you through all of the carnivore families!

You will learn how to describe biological characteristics of the families and genera that fall within the taxonomic order Carnivora.

You will be introduced to the fundamentals about the taxonomy, biology and behaviour of carnivore animals. The course progresses by addressing the biological characteristics of various groups of carnivores.

  • Study from home, at your own pace, tutor supported if you need it. 

  • Course devised by leading animal scientists.

  • Gain an excellent foundation of knowledge for working with wildlife or pets - all taxonomic groups covered. 

  • Professional development for people working in animal welfare, veterinary, conservation, pet care, and related industries.

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Taxonomy and Evolution
  2. Carnivore Biology
  3. Carnivore Behaviour
  4. Canines
  5. Felines
  6. Bears
  7. Aquatic Carnivores
  8. Mustalids
  9. Other Carnivores

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

What You Will Do

  • Set Task Activity 1 (Lesson 1)
    • Visit a zoo and observe carnivores. Take photos.
    • If due to accessibility problems, you are unable to visit a zoo, you may complete this task by taking a virtual visit, and recording URL’s of photos and videos which illustrate different species you would expect to see. If you must do this, you need to explain why you cannot visit a real zoo, and you should ensure you observe primates moving on video and not just still images.
    • Enjoy your trip.
  • Set Task Activity 2 (Lesson 2)
    • Compare the skeletal system of 3 common carnivores. You may wish to gather your data in table format.
    • Your table should include similarities and differences in structures as a minimum. Add any other column you can. General notes or comments are not appropriate here – be specific.
  • Set Task Activity 1 (Lesson 4)
    • Read about recent research genome evidence related to the GOLDEN JACKAL (African and Eurasian).
    • Spend around 30 minutes reading the current research. Make simple notes on what you find.
  • Set Task Activity 1 (Lesson 8)
    • Choose a mustelid to research. Consider the diet of this mustelid in its natural habit and physiological adaptations for its chosen diet. Next research feeding regimes which are suitable for this mustelid in captivity.


  • work in the animal transport industry 
  • work in animal health, care and rehabilitation  
  • work in animal conservation and protection - project work overseas or locally 
  • work with people to educate them about the animals 
  • work in welfare 
  • work in pest control and management 
  • work on game reserves, protecting from poachers or predators 
  • work in zoos, safari parks and sanctuaries worldwide 

The Carnivore Zoology course is an insightful reference course  providing a vast knowledge about these fascinating animals. It is aimed at students with a keen interest in carnivores or, equally, for those interested in animals in general and wanting to specialise.

You might like to start with this module and get a taster for studying with us. You might later go onto to study zoological science at diploma level (for example). 

Where can this course lead? With a zoological background, you may find work in the following areas:

  • Government Departments (e.g. Environment and Conservation; Agriculture; Water; Planning; Local Council; Environmental Regulation and Legislation)

  • Universities

  • Environmental Consultancy organisations

  • Research organisations

  • Fisheries and Aquaculture

  • Environmental Resources

  • Agriculture

  • Museums

  • Zoos and Wildlife Sanctuaries

  • National Parks

  • Conservation and Wildlife Management organisations

  • Animal breeding and genetics 

  • Biotechnology

  • Education


Carnivores are animals with four limbs (tetrapods), like reptiles, amphibians and birds. Carnivores are also mammals. That means they produce live young, produce milk and grow hair, like primates, ungulates and rodents).

Members of the Order Carnivora are typically carnivorous – carnivore means “meat eater”. There are however exceptions to this, with many being omnivorous and some that are even completely vegetarian.

In this course, we study mammals in the Order Carnivora which consists of at least 286 species. 

 Distinguishing Characteristics of Carnivores 

  • Most have teeth modified for eating meat (with some variations).
  • Skulls are varied but generally with a relatively large brain case
  • Brains relatively large, and intelligent
  • Most have well developed senses
  • Stomachs are always simple
  • Thick coat of hair -varied in colour
  • Most are medium sized animals -smallest a weasel around 80 grams, and largest are elephant seals to around 3,600 kg. 
  • Males commonly larger than females
  • Relatively long lived animals (most to 10 years or more)
  • Many are top predators in their ecosystems.


You can find out more about what it's like to study with us - watch this short video

Or contact us if you have any questions about this or any of our courses.

Call us on 01384 442752. 


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Quality Courses - written and taught by experienced animal science specialists.

Great support - unlimited tutor and administrative support for the duration of your studies - as much or as little as you need. 

Flexibility - study at your own pace, study where you want to with online or receive your materials on a USB.



Meet some of our academics

Dr Robert BrowneZoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability. Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and development, husbandry, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design.Robert has B.Sc., Ph, D.
Dr. Gareth PearceVeterinary scientist and surgeon with expertise in agriculture and environmental science, with over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Post-graduate qualifications in Education, Wildlife Conservation Medicine, Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Wildlife Biology & Conservation. Gareth has a B.Sc.(Hons), B.V.Sc., M.A., M.Vet.S,. PhD, Grad. Cert. Ed.(HE), Post-Grad.Cert. Aq.Vet.Sc., Post-Grad. Cert. WLBio&Cons., Dipl. ECPHM, MRCVS.
Peter Douglas Over 50 years experience in Agriculture and wildlife management. Former university lecturer, Wildlife park manager, Animal breeder, Equestrian. Peter has both wide ranging experience in animal science, farming and tourism management, and continues to apply that knowledge both through his work with ACS, and beyond.
Kara WightBSc (Applied Bioscience and Zoology), HND (Animal Care), HND (Photography & Imaging)