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Small carnivorans are generally poorly represented in zoos, probably because they are small, mostly nocturnal and solitary hunters. However, there is limited knowledge about the ecology and behaviour of a large number of these and many species are threatened with extinction or their conservation status is poorly known or even unknown. Although rare in zoos, there are good opportunities for zoos and museums to cooperate to ensure that when animals die, they are subjected to careful post‐mortem examinations, and preserved for research into anatomy and functional morphology. In turn museum collections are rich stores of specimens that assist zoos in identification, and provide veterinarians with access to animal remains and their anatomy to facilitate treatment and surgery. New techniques, such as computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning, plus the establishment of biobanks allow new ways of capturing vital information about small carnivorans for a wide range of research, including taxonomy and systematics, archaeology and palaeontology, anatomy, pathology and conservation science. Most importantly museum collections of zoo specimens allow the impacts of captivity, such as diet and activity levels, to be investigated. However, the development of this research resource relies on closer cooperation between zoos and museums. As wild and captive populations are increasingly managed under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Conservation Planning Specialist Group One Plan approach, it will also be increasingly important for zoos and museums to work together to benefit the conservation of threatened small carnivorans.