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Catch the best of the breed with this Red Dead Online legendary animals guide

red dead online legendary animals
(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

So you're trying to find those elusive Red Dead Online legendary animals? If you've already used our Red Dead Online Naturalist guide 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

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.

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

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.

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

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.

Legendary AnimalLocationConditions
Night BeaverRoanoke RidgeHarriet Mission
Payta BisonLittle CreekHarriet Mission
Icahai BoarEast New AustinHarriet Mission
Sapa CougarNortheast New AustinHarriet Mission
Milk CoyoteBlackwaterHarriet Mission
Inahme ElkSpider GorgeHarriet Mission
Cross FoxBayou NwaHarriet Mission
Banded GatorSaint DenisHarriet Mission
Rutile Horn RamRio Bravo and Cholla SpringsHarriet Mission
Moonstone WolfNorth of Cumberland ForestHarriet Mission
Owiza BearDakota RiverNighttime in rain
Ridgeback Spirit BearLittle Creek RiverDaytime
Moon BeaverAlong the Kamassa River and Elysian PoolDawn or dusk in rain
Zizi BeaverLake OwanjilaDawn or dusk in any weather
Tatanka BisonEast of Heartland Oil FieldsDaytime in rain or drizzle
Winyan BisonNorth of Lake IsabellaNighttime in clear weather
Cogi BoarBluewater MarshDawn in dry weather
Wakpa BoarStillwater MarshDaytime in rain
Mud Runner BuckFlat Iron LakeDaytime in dry weather
Snow BuckAurora BasinDawn in dry weather
Iguga CougarSoutheast Great PlainsDusk during storms
Maza CougarSea of CoronadoDawn with clear weather
Red Streak CoyotePike's BasinDay and evening in any weather
Midnight Paw CoyoteSoutheast of StrawberryDawn and daytime in dry weather
Katata ElkCumberland ForestDaytime with heavy fog
Ozula ElkCholla SpringsDusk and nighttime in fog
Marble FoxColterDawn or dusk in clear weather
Ota FoxWest of RhodesDawn or dusk in dry weather
Sun GatorNear Lakay and LagrasMorning with heavy fog
Teca GatorLannahechee River south of Caliga HallNighttime during storms
Knight MooseNorthern Kamassa RiverDaytime
Snowflake MooseBarrow LagoonNighttime in rain
Chalk Horn RamEast of Calumet RavineDay and dusk in clear weather
Gabbro Horn RamRio BravoDawn and day in dry weather
Emerald WolfO'Creagh's RunNighttime any weather
Onyx WolfBetween Wapiti and Cotorra SpringsNighttime 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.

Lauren loves long books and even longer RPGs. She got a game design degree and then, stupidly, refused to leave the midwest. She plays indie games you haven't heard of and will never pass on a story about players breaking games or playing them wrong.