This introductory land mammals online course will explore badgers, other mustelids and some other relevant medium-sized mammals.

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.

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 more about their biology, adaptations, ecology, conservation issues and threats and key identification features to use to distinguish mustelids from other similar-sized mammals while you’re out surveying.

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.

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

Existing knowledge and understanding of basic plant terminology would be beneficial for this course.

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.

What is covered in this course?

    • Mustelid Biology
    • Mustelid Ecology
    • An Introduction to UK Mustelids and Similar Species

Please note that this is NOT a species identification course

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
    • Understand the differences between UK mustelids and similar-sized land mammals
    • Share this knowledge with friends, family and fellow volunteers.

This is a training course from the Field Studies Council, including online course materials, expert tuition and a flexible learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning about mammals with further relevant courses, or branch out into other areas of the animal kingdom. The Field Studies Council offers both online and in person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

Please note that bookings will close at 9 am on Wednesday 9th November to allow for all participants to be enrolled to the online platform – booking will not be taken after this time.*

* Bookings will close sooner if course capacity is reached

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.

    • See the ‘Example Timetable’ and ‘What’s Included’ sections below for more information about this course.
    • Each individual needs to place their own order to ensure we can sign you up to the learning platform and give you access to resources.
    • If you have any questions about our online courses please check our Frequently Asked Questions first
    • If your question is still not answered, 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.

    • Discounted rates
    • Privately run courses for your group
    • Bespoke courses developed specifically for your needs

Click here to find out more!

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. 

Live Webinar Information

The webinars will take place on the following dates at 5:00 pm (GMT):

    • Monday 21st November 2022 at 5:00 - 5:45 pm
    • Monday 28th November 2022 at 5:00 - 5:45 pm
    • Monday 5th December 2022 at 5:00 - 5:45 pm

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

Example Timetable


Week 1: Mustelid Biology 
Self-study material available: 14/11/2022
Week 1 live webinar: 21/11/2022 at 5:00pm

Week 2: Mustelid Ecology 
Self-study material available: 21/11/2022
Week 1 live webinar: 28/11/2022 at 5:00pm

Week 3: Introduction to UK Mustelids and Similar Species 
Self-study material available: 28/11/2022
Week 1 live webinar: 05/12/2022 at 5:00pm

The final deadline to complete any outstanding activities and self-study components is 19/12/2022

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.

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.

Sorry this course booking is closed