Red Dead Redemption 2 features 178 different animals roaming the map, including species you might easily miss, such as the ones found in Guarma, and also Legendary Animals, which are listed at the very end of the in-game Compendium.
In this guide, we take a look at how to study and skin animals to obtain the related trophies/achievements as well as at the location of all animals in the story mode. We also list the items that can be obtained by skinning them and what can be crafted with them.
Note: this guide contains minor progression spoilers.
Animal Locations Overview
Animals spawn in specific locations on the map in Red Dead Redemption 2, not counting extremely common animals like rabbits and deer which are seen pretty much everywhere. This means that certain animals only have a chance of appearing in select locations.
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As spawning is randomized, there's no way to make a certain animal appear in its spawn area. Try using Herbivore and Predator Baits as needed, and if the animal you are looking for doesn't appear, leave the area, make camp and sleep for some time. Doing this will reset the current spawn chance and the animals available all over the map will change.
If you cannot find a specific animal, there's a good hunting spot where a lot of different animals spawn, including birds, that can only be reached after completing the game. This area is called Bear Claw, and it's located in New Austin to the southwest of Manzanita Post. Make sure to also hunt at night to find some nocturnal species.
Finding all animals is needed to unlock two different trophies/achievements, Zoologist and Skin Deep. To unlock the first, the only thing you need to do is study all animals, while you also need to skin them to unlock the second.
The animals in Guarma are easy to miss, since there is no way to get back on Guarma via regular means after completing the first few missions in Chapter 5. These don't need to be studied or skinned to get any of the two trophies, but count toward progression so you can skip some of the regular animals if you do.
Legendary Animals, on the contrary, don't count at all toward progression for either trophy/achievement. Still, you should skin them as the obtained items can be used to craft talismans and trinkets which unlock some useful permanent perks for your character.
All animals in Red Dead Redemption 2 can be studied, including missable ones in Guarma and Legendary Animals too.
To study an animal, you need to aim at it and press the R1/RT button on your controller. You can also study them from greater distances with the binoculars or a scoped rifle. As some animals are more aware of their surroundings than others, it's safer to study them from a distance. In fact, some may even attack you once they are aware of your presence, while others will simply run away. In both cases, it will be impossible for you to study them.
If you have alerted an animal, however, there is a way to make it stop reacting without killing it. Use a Poison Throwing Knife and wait for a while for the animal to stop. You must be quick to study it, as it will eventually die due to the poison.
Once you have studied 178 animals, you will unlock the Zoologist trophy/achievement.
Skinning animals in Red Dead Redemption 2 is rather straightforward: all you have to do is kill any animal, approach its carcass and press the triangle or Y button. Skinning animals grants meat as well as other items that can be sold for money or used in crafting.
To get the Skin Deep trophy you must skin all skinnable animals, which doesn't include bird and other small animals.
All Animal Locations
All animals are listed as they are in the in-game compendium to make it easier to search for them.
Alligator Snapping Turtle
These mean sounding turtles are native and exclusive to the swamps in Lemoyne. They are carnivores, so use a Predator or Potent Predator bait to attract them. Turtles are not very resilient, so you must use the bow armed with small game arrows to kill one without damaging the body too much. They only yield herptile meat, which can be used in cooking.
The Alpine Goat appears in farm and ranches across several regions, including an area to the west of the Van Horn Trading Post, and three more areas located to the south of the "H", "N", and "V" in New Hanover on the map. Goats are herbivores, so use Herbivore bait to make one appear in case you cannot find one. Despite their size, goats are not resilient at all, so you can get a perfect kill on them with the bow armed with regular arrows. Repeaters are also good for scoring a perfect kill. The perfect goat hide can be used to craft a special pair of boots at any trapper, while the gristly mutton can be used in cooking.
American Alligator (small)
The small American Alligator can be found in the same areas of the regular one, like the swamps near Saint Denis and in the Bayou Nwa. They are just as common as the big alligators, so you probably won't have to search for long to find one of them. Like the regular American Alligator, the small alligator can be killed perfectly with a bow armed with improved arrows or a scoped rifle. The perfect alligator skin can be used to craft saddles at trappers. Teeth and big game meat can be used in crafting and cooking.
The American Alligator is found mostly in the swamps near Saint Denis and in the Bayou Nwa. The animal is pretty common in these areas, so you won't have to search too long to find one. To get a perfect kill on an American Alligator, you can either use the bow with improved arrows or a scoped rifle. A perfect alligator skin can be used to craft saddles at trappers. They also drop teeth and big game meat which can be used for crafting and cooking.
The American Badger is a rather common animal in Red Dead Redemption 2, and can be found in several different hunting spots. It prefers dry climates, so it's easier to find in the areas around Rhodes and most of Lemoyne. This animal is a carnivore, so you must use Predator Bait to lure it out. As the American Badger is a small animal, the only weapon that can be used to get a perfect kill is the Varmint Rifle. The Perfect Badger Pelt is used to craft a specific hat at trappers. It also yields claws and stringy meat when skinned, which can be used in crafting and cooking.
The American Bison is among the rarest animals in Red Dead Redemption 2, as it can only be found in four different areas: right to the south of Valentine, in the gap between the "H" and "A" in New Hanover, to the south of the "E" in New Hanover and to the west of Blackwater in West Elizabeth. American Bisons are herbivores, so only Herbivore bait will flush them out. Being an extremely resilient animal, only the most powerful weapons, such as the Carcano Rifle, have to be used to get a perfect kill. The bow armed with poison arrows is also a good choice, only that you will not be able to get its meat after skinning. Bison pelt, horns and bison meat are used in crafting and cooking.
American Black Bear
American Black Bears are not particularly common, and they can only be found in select areas, like right on the "O" in Ambarino on the map, and directly to the north of Strawberry in West Elizabeth. These animals are omnivores, so they can be flushed out with either Herbivore or Predator baits. As American Black Bears are quite resilient the most efficient way to score a perfect kill are scoped rifles, as you will also be able to keep a safe distance from the animal. The perfect bear pelt can be used to craft a special hat at trappers. Claws, fat and big game meat are used for crafting and cooking.
The American Bullfrog can only be found in the Lemoyne and Bayou Nwa areas, as the animal prefers warmer climates. Look for them near shallow bodies of water, you won't have any trouble finding them as they are quite common in these areas. The American Bullfrog is a carnivore, so a Predator Bait has to be used to flush them out. As they are very small, the only way to get a perfect kill on American Bullfrogs is with the bow armed with small game arrows. The frog carcass and herptile meat can be used in crafting and cooking.
The American Crow is a very common bird in Red Dead Redemption 2, as it can be found in a lot of different areas, such as near the "A" and "B" in Ambarino on the map, right on the "E" and "M" on Lemoyne, directly to the east of Rhodes, right on the "I" in New Austin on the map and other places. Crows are omnivorous, so either type of bait is good to flush them out. Being small birds, the bow armed with small game arrows is the weapon to use to get a perfect kill on them. They yield feathers and gamey bird meat once killed, which are used in crafting and cooking.
American Domestic Cat
The American Domestic Cat is among the most common animals in the world of Red Dead Redemption 2, and it can be found in most town, cities, and ranches. There's no wild variation of the animal. As the American Domestic Cat has become almost omnivore, it can be flushed out with either type of bait, but it's unlikely you will have to do, given how common the animal is.
American Fox Hound
The American Fox Hound is among the most common dogs in the world of Red Dead Redemption 2, and they can be spotted often in towns and cities. In case you cannot find one, you can use either a Predator or Herbivore Bait, as they are omnivorous.
American Gray Fox
The American Gray Fox appears in the same areas the regular American Red Fox does. It appears more frequently in the forested areas in the Lemoyne and New Hanover regions. American Gray Foxes are omnivorous, so use whichever type of bait you have on hand to make one spawn. Like regular red foxes, the American Gray Fox isn't a particularly resilient animal, so you can use the bow armed with regular arrows or any repeater to score a perfect kill. The perfect fox pelt can be used to craft a special hat, while the stringy meat can be used in cooking.
The American Muskrat is among the most common rodents in Red Dead Redemption 2, as it can be found in a lot of different areas such as near the "I" in Ambarino, to the east of Annesburg, near the road going from Saint Denis to the Van Horn Trading post and on the island on the eastern side of Flat Iron Lake. It's also very common in the southern part of New Austin. The American Muskrat is an omnivore, so you can use either type of bait to make it appear. Being very small, the Varmint Rifle armed with 0.22 shots is the only weapon capable of scoring a perfect kill on a muskrat. The perfect muskrat fur can be used to craft a pair of Muskrat Gloves at any trapper, while scent glands and stringy meat can be used in regular crafting and cooking.
American Pronghorn Buck
The American Pronghorn Buck is a rather common animal, as it appears in the grasslands found across New Hanover and West Elizabeth. The big open areas to the south of Valentine are the best hunting spots. This animal is a herbivore, so only a Herbivore Bait will make it appear. Despite their size, the bow armed with regular arrows is more than enough to score a perfect kill. As they tend to run away as soon as they catch a glimpse of you, however, it may be difficult to get a headshot: for this reason, you can use poison arrows that will kill the animal slowly without damaging its carcass too much. The Perfect pronghorn hide can be used to craft a special vest, while mature venison meat can be used in cooking.
American Pronghorn Doe
The American Pronghorn Doe can be found in the same areas the American Pronghorn Buck appears in, like the grasslands in West Elizabeth and New Hanover as well as several areas in the New Austin region. They are herbivores, so only the Herbivore bait can make one appear. The American Pronghorn Doe is not a particularly strong animal, so the bow armed with the regular arrows is more than enough to get a perfect kill. In case the animal starts running away, making it hard for you to get a headshot, you can also use poison arrows. Perfect pronghorn hide can be used to craft a special vest, while mature venison meat can be used in crafting and cooking.
American Red Fox
The American Red Fox is among the most common animals to find in Red Dead Redemption 2. It usually appears in forested areas all over the Lemoyne regions as well as in the eastern part of New Hanover, the western woodlands in West Elizabeth and right on the "I" in Ambarino on the map. Foxes are omnivorous, so either Predator or Herbivore bait is good to make one appear. American Red Foxes are somewhat more resilient than animals of the same size, so you can get a perfect kill on them not only with the bow armed with regular arrows, but also with any repeater. A perfect fox pelt can be used to craft a special hat at any trappers, while stringy meat can be used in cooking.