Carnivore Zoology

Understand more about carnivorous animals and get a head start on your zoology career.

Course CodeBEN219
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Study Carnivore Zoology

Carnivores evolved around 50 to 60 million years ago. The carnivores we see today are believed to have evolved from a common ancestor – a small tree-dwelling mammal, that fed on insects and small mammals.

This course introduces you 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 this course to learn all about these fascinating animals...

  • Learn about the anatomical and physiological features which distinguish carnivores from other types of mammals
  • Learn how to differentiate between different species of carnivores.
  • Learn about the physiology and behaviours associated with a meat-eating lifestyle such as hunting, predation and social structure and territoriality.



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.


  • discuss the characteristics, classification and significance of carnivorous animals to man, ecosystems and environments.
  • describe anatomical and physiological features of carnivores, which differentiate carnivores from other types of mammals.
  • explain carnivore behaviour.
  • differentiate different types of animals belonging to the taxonomic family called Canidae.
  • differentiate different types of animals belonging to the taxonomic family called Felidae.
  • differentiate different types of animals belonging to the taxonomic family called Ursidae.
  • differentiate different types of canine animals that are aquatic.
  • differentiate different types of animals belonging to the taxonomic family called Mustelidae and Mephitidae.
  • differentiate different types of animals belonging to the taxonomic families not yet dealt with.

How Many Carnivores are there?

There are around 280 different living species of carnivores, but a lot more than that if you include extinct species.

These living carnivores are divided by zoologists into twelve families, and throughout this course you will become familiar with those families and the points of difference between each.

The living families are:

  • Canidae (dogs, jackals, fox, wolves)
  • Ursidae (bears, panda)
  • Procyonidae (raccoons, lesser panda)
  • Mustelidae (otters, weasels, badgers, mink)
  • Mephitidae (skunks-previously part of Mustelidae)
  • Viverridae (civets, genets)
  • Herpestidae (mongooses-often considered part of Viverridae)
  • Hyaenidae (hyenas, aardwolf)
  • Felidae (cats, lion, tiger)
  • Odobenidae (walrus)
  • Phocidae (true, earless, or hair seals)

Why Study with ACS?

  • Start any time, work at your own pace
  • Tutors include a team of world class zoologists who have worked across the world.

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Bob James

Horticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc.,
Dr. Gareth Pearce

Veterinary 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
Kara Wight

Kara Wight - BSc (Applied Bioscience and Zoology), HND (Animal Care), HND (Photography & Imaging)
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