This beginner UK otter online course will explore their biology, ecology, and conservation. 

Otters are semi-aquatic animals that belong to the Mustelidae family of carnivorous mammals. Learn more about the otters in the UK, from their evolutionary past, biology, habitats, and behaviour through to how we can monitor and survey for them.  

What is covered in this course? 

  • Otter Biology 
  • Otter Ecology 
  • Otter Surveying and Conservation 

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This is a great course for beginners looking to learn more about otters. This course will focus on what otters evolved from, their biology, behaviour, and where to find them. This course will also cover a basic overview of otter surveying, monitoring, and conservation whilst looking at human impacts on our UK otter population.

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 an interactive Zoom workshop to complement the online content. Time commitment is approximately 2-3 hours a week and an E-certificate is provided upon completion.

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

  • Understand how otters evolved, their biology and key adaptations
  • Understand where otters live, their feeding ecology, breeding and other behaviours
  • Be able to identify the key signs used to survey for otters
  • Understand why otter monitoring and surveying is important
  • Understand the historic relationships between humans and otters, current threats and measures to conserve and reintroduce otters in the UK

Who Should Attend? – Nature enthusiasts, Students, Rangers, Early career ecologists

Knowledge Level – Beginner. 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.

Please note – bookings will close 2 working days before the course start date to allow for all participants to be enrolled to the online platform – bookings will not be taken after this time. *

*Bookings will close sooner if course capacity is reached 

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

Vivien Kent

Vivien Kent is a Wildlife Biologist with over 20 years’ experience of researching and working with carnivores in Southern Africa and the UK. For the past 10 years she has been focusing on otters in the UK – one of our most charismatic species. She is a member of the IUCN SSC Otter Specialist Group and co-founded The Otter Network in North-East England.

Example Timetable


Week 1:UK Otter Biology
Self-study material available from the start date.
Week 1 Live Webinar at the end of week 1

Week 2: UK Otter Ecology
Self-study material available after week 1 webinar
Week 2 Live Webinar: at the end of week 2

Week 3: UK Otter Surveying and Conservation
Self-study material available after week 2 webinar
Week 3 Live webinar at the end of week 3

The final deadline to complete any outstanding assignments and self-study components is 2 week 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

What’s Included

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.

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

  • Wed 21, August 2024 - Wed 25, September 2024

    The webinars will take place on Wednesdays  11:30 am – 12:15 pm on the following dates:

    • Week 1: 28th August 2024
    • Week 2: 4th September 2024
    • Week 3: 11th September 2024

    Vivien Kent

No current dates for this course? Click here to view all the upcoming Natural History courses.

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
Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

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.