So you're trying to find those elusive Red Dead Online legendary animals? If you've already used our Red Dead Online Naturalist guide (opens in new tab) to reach level 5 in the role and you're ready to track the more specialized prey, this is the guide you need to take you to the next stage of mastering Mother Nature.
There are a couple of different ways to track down legendary animals, one a lot more reliable than the other, but you'll need to do a bit of both to complete your Animal Guide with a sample of each. So here's everything you need to know about legendary animals in Red Dead Online, including what they are, how to find them, and our top tips for for finding legendary spawns.
What are legendary animals in Red Dead Online?
Legendary animals are rare specimens of their species, which is what makes them valuable to Harriet for research. They also have specially-colored coats, which Gus can use to make special clothing if you choose to skin them. They're a finicky bunch that only spawn rarely and usually under certain conditions, too.
You'll receive a Legendary Animal Map when you hit Naturalist rank 5 which you can find in your item wheel. It shows a general location for a few legendary animals, but it isn't a complete list and won't give you other important information about when they appear. To help you pinpoint exactly where to find them, we've outlined the locations and conditions for each Red Dead Online legendary animal location in the table further down this page.
Red Dead Online: How to find legendary animals
There are few ways to find legendary animals, and you'll need to do a little of each to complete your Animal Guide Book:
Accept a mission from Harriet
One of each legendary animal species can only be found during their respective missions given by Harriet after you reach level 5 in the Naturalist role. She usually has two or three missions available at a time, which each have a countdown timer showing when a new mission will replace it, usually between 30 minutes and an hour.
Legendary animal missions are somewhat similar to legendary bounties in that they'll have you tracking a target across an area and sometimes fighting enemies while you do it. Each animal mission has a couple of variants, so it might be different the first few times you attempt it. These missions will eventually kick you if you fail to find the animal in the time limit, though unfortunately you only get a 30-second warning. The mission ends as soon as you either skin or sample the animal. Just remember: Harriet doesn't like it when you kill animals (opens in new tab).
Go on a free-roam event mission
There are a couple of new events in which you can participate to net you a legendary animal sample:
- Protect Legendary Animal: You and a group of fellow players rescue an animal and then fend off poachers while escorting it to its destination. Everyone in the mission will get a sample after it ends.
- Wild Animal Tagging: You and a group of players cooperate to sedate and sample a bunch of normal animals. During the mission, a legendary animal can spawn. It's unclear if this is guaranteed, but it happened in my experience. Everyone in the mission will get a sample of the legendary animal.
You can get a sample and uncover the Animal Guide Book entry for legendary animals you're struggling to find by participating in these events even though you can't bring home a pelt.
Find a legendary animal in free roam
Legendary animals can spawn while you're playing Red Dead Online as normal in free roam. As with other animals, most players seem to see Legendary Animal spawns more frequently while in lobbies with fewer other players.
If you're looking for a particular legendary animal, I've listed the known spawn locations below. There are multiple precise spawn locations for each legendary animal within the general locations below. Don't worry too much about hanging out in an exact location: As long as you're in the vicinity, you should see the notification alerting you that one has arrived nearby.
When a legendary animal spawns nearby, you'll see a notification in the top-left and a yellow question mark on your minimap. Using the Legendary Animal Pheromones sold by Harriet will reveal a more specific location. An important note: pheromones will not force a legendary animal to spawn, they only reveal the location of one that's already nearby.
In my experience, you're better off jumping to a new game lobby via your Online Menu if the legendary you're looking for hasn't spawned within a couple minutes. On one occasion, a possemate and I waited three in-game nights (2 real hours) for the Onyx Wolf to spawn near Cotorra Springs without luck. The following day, the Onyx Wolf spawned on the third server I entered in the same area.
All Red Dead Online legendary animals locations
Here's the list of legendary animals currently available for the Naturalist role. You'll notice in your Animal Guide Book that there are still quite a few entries that are just question marks without the portrait of any animal. Rockstar seems to be adding more legendary animals in subsequent updates the way they originally did with legendary bounties for the Bounty Hunter role.
This table includes the location and conditions for each legendary animal currently available. In my experience, the time of day and weather preferences are just that—preferences. Legendary Animals can be found in other conditions, but those listed here reflect when they are most likely to spawn.
|Golden Spirit Bear||Big Valley||Harriet Mission|
|Night Beaver||Roanoke Ridge||Harriet Mission|
|Payta Bison||Little Creek||Harriet Mission|
|Icahai Boar||East New Austin||Harriet Mission|
|Sapa Cougar||Northeast New Austin||Harriet Mission|
|Milk Coyote||Blackwater||Harriet Mission|
|Inahme Elk||Spider Gorge||Harriet Mission|
|Cross Fox||Bayou Nwa||Harriet Mission|
|Banded Gator||Saint Denis||Harriet Mission|
|Ruddy Moose||Tall Trees||Harriet Mission|
|Rutile Horn Ram||Rio Bravo and Cholla Springs||Harriet Mission|
|Moonstone Wolf||North of Cumberland Forest||Harriet Mission|
|Owiza Bear||Dakota River||Nighttime in rain|
|Ridgeback Spirit Bear||Little Creek River||Daytime|
|Moon Beaver||Along the Kamassa River and Elysian Pool||Dawn or dusk in rain|
|Zizi Beaver||Lake Owanjila||Dawn or dusk in any weather|
|Tatanka Bison||East of Heartland Oil Fields||Daytime in rain or drizzle|
|Winyan Bison||North of Lake Isabella||Nighttime in clear weather|
|Cogi Boar||Bluewater Marsh||Dawn in dry weather|
|Wakpa Boar||Stillwater Marsh||Daytime in rain|
|Mud Runner Buck||Flat Iron Lake||Daytime in dry weather|
|Snow Buck||Aurora Basin||Dawn in dry weather|
|Iguga Cougar||Southeast Great Plains||Dusk during storms|
|Maza Cougar||Sea of Coronado||Dawn with clear weather|
|Red Streak Coyote||Pike's Basin||Day and evening in any weather|
|Midnight Paw Coyote||Southeast of Strawberry||Dawn and daytime in dry weather|
|Katata Elk||Cumberland Forest||Daytime with heavy fog|
|Ozula Elk||Cholla Springs||Dusk and nighttime in fog|
|Marble Fox||Colter||Dawn or dusk in clear weather|
|Ota Fox||West of Rhodes||Dawn or dusk in dry weather|
|Sun Gator||Near Lakay and Lagras||Morning with heavy fog|
|Teca Gator||Lannahechee River south of Caliga Hall||Nighttime during storms|
|Knight Moose||Northern Kamassa River||Daytime|
|Snowflake Moose||Barrow Lagoon||Nighttime in rain|
|Nightwalker Panther||Southwest of Bolger Glade||Dusk in fog or mist|
|Ghost Panther||Merkins Waller and Macomb's End||Nighttime in wet weather|
|Chalk Horn Ram||East of Calumet Ravine||Day and dusk in clear weather|
|Gabbro Horn Ram||Rio Bravo||Dawn and day in dry weather|
|Emerald Wolf||O'Creagh's Run||Nighttime any weather|
|Onyx Wolf||Between Wapiti and Cotorra Springs||Nighttime dry weather|
More legendary animal tracking tips
- In Eagle Eye mode, legendary animal trails glow gold, unlike the blue of normal animals.
- You can't use Dead Eye on legendary animals; You'll need to aim by hand.
- In Harriet's missions, a pair of binoculars can help you spot tracking clues from afar.
- At Naturalist rank 15 you'll get a perk making legendary animals spawn near you more often.
- Remember to track and photograph legendary animals during free-roam events.