This introductory land mammals course will explore the biology, ecology and conservation of badgers and other mustelids

Mustelids are a family of carnivorous mammals including badgers, otters and more. Learn more about the several species of mustelids, including badgers, that the UK is home to, that you may be lucky to see.

What is covered in this course?

  • Mustelid Biology 
  • Mustelid Ecology 
  • Conservation and Legal Protection of UK Mustelids 

This is not a specific species identification course 

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This is the perfect course for beginners looking to learn more about land mammals. This course will focus on badgers and other mustelids, including pine martens, otters and weasels, that you can find in the UK. You will learn about their biology, adaptations, ecology, and key identification features to use to distinguish mustelids from other similar-sized mammals. You will also learn about conservation issues and threats, as well as legal protection of mustelids.

This is a 3-week online course covering 3 topics, for which you will complete a variety of self-led online resources and activities. Each topic is then concluded with either an interactive Zoom workshop or a marked assignment to complement the online content. Time commitment is approximately 2-3 hours a week and an E-certificate is provided upon completion. Understand how our online courses are delivered.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Explain what a mustelid is, and the variety of species found in the UK
  • Describe UK mustelids adaptations
  • Explain mustelid feeding techniques, breeding and other aspects of their life cycles and ecology
  • Identify mustelids native to the UK and any introduced species
  • Understand the distribution of mustelids in the UK and the population status of several UK mustelid species
  • Understand the threats UK mustelid species face, and how conservation organisations, campaign groups and laws contribute to their protection

Who Should Attend? – Nature enthusiasts, students, rangers, early career ecologists.

Knowledge Level – Introductory. Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

Prior Knowledge – No existing knowledge or experience is needed for this course, just a willingness to explore and learn.

Live Webinar Information

There are 3 webinars for this course, taking place at the end of each week. Please see the date listing below for the day and time.

Please note – webinars will be recorded and uploaded to the virtual learning platform for learners unable to attend.

About the Tutor

Jack Riggall

Jack Riggall is an experienced ecologist, naturalist and keen mammal recorder currently living near Leicester. They are actively involved with recording efforts for wild mammal species across the county including for Leicestershire & Rutland Badger Group, and they have taken part in national surveys such as the national polecat survey in 2014/15 and the sixth national otter survey of England in 2023. They have a soft spot for mustelids, especially badgers, and have assisted with badger vaccination schemes and other efforts to protect badgers.

Example Timetable


Week 1: Mustelid Biology
Self-study material available from course start date.
Week 1 live webinar

Week 2: Mustelid Ecology
Self-study material available after Week 1 webinar
Week 1 live webinar

Week 3: Conservation and Legal Protection of UK Mustelids
Self-study material available after Week 2 webinar
Week 1 live webinar

The final deadline to complete any outstanding activities and self-study components is 2 weeks after the final webinar

Time commitment: This course will require approximately 2-3 hours of your time each week. This includes covering course materials on our Moodle learning platform and the Zoom session.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

The course has been carefully created to help you continue to build and develop your knowledge as the course progresses. With content crafted to the online Moodle Platform and bespoke to the Field Studies Council.

The course includes:

  • 45-minute interactive weekly Zoom workshops to connect with the tutor and other participants
  • Expert tuition for which the Field Studies Council is renowned
  • Activities to work on independently in advance of each Zoom workshop
  • Tailored course completion certificate

Once registered, you will follow well-illustrated, user-friendly ’books’ to pick up knowledge. Quizzes and skill checks will give you instant feedback on your learning. Forums give students the chance to interact with each other as well as a place to share work.

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be at your fingertips. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.


  • ★★★★★

    The tutor was very knowledgeable and presented the material in an engaging way.

  • ★★★★★

    I enjoyed reading all the course material. the further reading links are a nice added extra.

  • ★★★★

    Broad range of topics inc legislation and physiology

  • ★★★★★

    I enjoyed testing myself with the quizzes and really feeling that I knew the content and I am confident to transfer it into my working day as a graduate ecologist.

  • ★★★★★

    The course was easy to access and well-balanced with a mix of course material to read, quizzes and Zoom meetings. It was informative and I felt like the information had just the right amount of detail with the option for further reading if I wanted. Our course leader Jack was brilliant, he answered all the questions and went over the course material in detail to check we had understood.

  • ★★★★

    Material was broad and very update
    Very useful

  • ★★★★

    Videos are very helpful re identification (and just for entertainment!).

  • ★★★★★

    I liked the inclusion of quizzes
    my preferred sections were habitats, territories, trophic levels, diet, distribution and conservation

Bursaries and Subsidies

Student Discount

This course is eligible for a student discount. If you are a current student, please use discount code BioStudent20 at checkout for 20% off all Biodiversity courses.

Before You Attend

Accessing Your Course

  • Once you sign up you’ll receive an email at least 24 hours in advance of the course opening with details of how to access our easy-to-use platform, Moodle.
  • Moodle can be accessed through a browser or an app.
  • Webinars are via Zoom so you won’t need any new software to attend

Recommended Devices

It is recommended that you access your course through a PC or laptop. Please be aware that there will be reduced functionality if you decide to access the course through a tablet or smartphone. The Field Studies Council is unable to email content directly to you.

Opportunities to attend this course

This course is not currently available to book. Dates will follow soon.

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Progress Your Learning

This is a training course from the Field Studies Council, delivered by expert tutors with an approachable learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning with further relevant courses or branch out into other areas of natural history. The Field Studies Council offers both online and in person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our online portal gives you time to study at your own pace and fit the lessons around your own schedule.

If you have any questions about our online courses please check our Frequently Asked Questions or email [email protected].

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses. Find out more!

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be at your fingertips. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.