Naturalist Role Guide – Red Dead Online

In Red Dead Online there are a number of ways to make money including special roles called Frontier Pursuits. One of the Frontier Pursuits players can take part in is the role of the Naturalist. In this new role players are tasked with taking samples of animal specimens across the frontier using the sedative system. To learn more about this role check out our complete Naturalist role guide for Red Dead Online below.


Where to Start the Naturalist Role

Image showing where to start the Naturalist role in Red Dead Online.

Once you’ve updated your game to Version 1.20 head into Red Dead Online. In-game you will find a new marker in Strawberry for the quest On the Nature of Beasts. Head to this quest marker to start the first new Naturalist role.

At the lodge in Strawberry you will meet an NPCs called Gus, Harriet, and Glenn. Gus wants you to hunt exotic animals while Harriet wants you to save them and document them. After a brief conversation with Harriet you will be offered the chance to buy the Sample Kit for 25 Gold. Buy this kit to unlock the new role of Naturalist.

Where to Find Harriet in Red Dead Online

Image showing where to find Harriet in Red Dead Online to the northwest of Lagras.

After Harriet drugs you you will wake up outside of Strawberry. Once you are back in control you should open your map to find there are two new icons on it for Gus and Harriet. Harriet now runs a number of camps spread across the frontier. In total you can find Harriet in 3 spots:

  • Northwest of Lagras.
  • West of Wallace Station.
  • Northeast of Macfarlane’s Ranch.

I’m personally a fan of the Lagras location since it has a very close proximity to a fast travel station. This proximity makes it incredibly easy to get to and leave when needed. If you wish to look for Harriet on your map look for the magnifying glass icon.

How to Collect Animal Samples

Once you are registered as a Naturalist you begin to collect Animal Samples for Harriet. Collecting Animal Samples can be viewed as basically non-lethal hunting. You will receive (or can buy) a new ammunition type called sedatives which can be loaded into the Varmint Rifle to allow you to sedate animals you encounter in the wild.

How to Sedate an Animal

Sedating an animal is a bit tricky as the feedback is pretty poor. Basically what you need to do is shoot the animal until you see a red X hit marker. Once the red X appears follow the animal for a few seconds until it falls over and goes to aleep. Once an animal is sedated it will appear on your mini-map as a paw with ZZZs coming from it. While sedated you can approach the animal to collect a sample from it. Once a sample is collected you can sell it to Harriet for cash and Naturalist XP. For each animal you give Harriet a sample of you get a stamp. These stamps are part of collections you can sell for money and 1000 XP when fully complete.

Common Animals

These animals are considered relatively easy to find and hunt. You will stumble on them rather frequently while in their habitats across the map.

Farmland Habitat Samples (11 Animals) – $60.00

Image showing the Farmland Habitat category in Red Dead Online.
  1. Florida Cracker Cow – $1.90.
  2. Angus Bull – $2.35.
  3. Devon Bull – $2.35.
  4. Hereford Bull – $2.35.
  5. Angus Ox – $2.25.
  6. Devon Ox – $2.25.
  7. Old Spot Pig – $1.15.
  8. Berkshire Pig – $1.15.
  9. Big China Pig – $1.15.
  10. Merino Sheep – $1.10.
  11. Alpine Goat – $1.10.

Most of the above mentioned animals can be found in Valentine or Emerald Ranch and surrounding areas. If you wish to see the exact locations check out our Farmland Habitats guide.

Desert Habitat Samples (14 Animals) – $80.00

Image showing the Desert Habitat Category in Red Dead Online.
  1. Desert Iguana – $0.75.
  2. Banded Gila Monster – $0.80.
  3. Nine-Banded Armadillo – $0.70.
  4. Baja California Pronghorn Buck – $2.00.
  5. Baja California Pronghorn Doe – $2.00.
  6. Collared Peccary – $1.75.
  7. Sonoran Pronghorn Buck – $2.00.
  8. Sonoran Pronghorn Doe – $2.00.
  9. Desert Bighorn Ram – $2.05.
  10. Desert Bighorn Sheep – $2.05
  11. Sierra Nevada Bighorn Ram – $2.05.
  12. Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep – $1.10.
  13. Black-Tailed Rattlesnake – $0.75.
  14. Cougar – $4.05.

Most of the above mentioned animals can be found Armadillo and Tumbleweed and surrounding areas. If you wish to see the exact locations check out our Desert Habitats guide.

Wetland Habitat Samples (13 Animals) – $110

Image showing the Wetland Habitat category in Red Dead Online.
  1. American Alligator (Small) – $1.90.
  2. Green Iguana – $0.75.
  3. Alligator Snapping Turtle – $0.70.
  4. Panther – $4.15.
  5. Florida Panther – $4.15.
  6. American Alligator – $1.90.
  7. Western Diamondback Rattlesnake – $0.75.
  8. Midland Water Snake – $0.75.
  9. Northern Copperhead Snake – $0.75.
  10. Southern Copperhead Snake – $0.75.
  11. Cottonmouth Water Snake – $0.75.
  12. Northern Water Snake – $0.75.

All of the above mentioned animals can be found in the Lemoyne area of the Red Dead Online map. This area encompasses places like Bluewater Marsh, Rhodes, and Saint Denis. While many of the animals listed above are rather common things like the Panthers and water snakes can be tricky to find. Check out our guide here for more help.

Mountain & Grassland Habitat Samples (14 Animals) – $140.00

  1. Rocky Mountain Bull Elk – $4.90.
  2. Rocky Mountain Cow Elk – $4.90.
  3. American Badger – $0.90.
  4. Gray Wolf – $1.55.
  5. Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep – $1.10.
  6. California Valley Coyote – $1.00.
  7. Whitetail Buck – $3.00.
  8. Whitetail Deer – $2.10.
  9. Wild Boar – $2.05.
  10. American Bison – $3.60.
  11. American Pronghorn Buck – $2.00.
  12. American Pronghorn Doe.

Forest & River Habitat Samples (13 Animals) – $160.00

  1. American Black Bear – $3.65.
  2. North American Beaver – $2.60.
  3. North American Raccoon.
  4. American Red Fox – $1.35.
  5. American Gray Fox.
  6. Silver Fox – $1.35.
  7. Striped Skunk.
  8. Virginia Opossum.
  9. American Muskrat – $1.20.
  10. Western Bull Moose – $5.50.
  11. Grizzly Bear – $5.85.
  12. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit – $1.05.

Legendary Animals

These animals are far more rare than the animals listed above. You will need to get lucky and have them spawn in their regions if you want to find and hunt them in the open world. With that said there are hunting missions you unlock at Naturalist Level 5 with a guaranteed Legendary Animal in them you can ‘hunt’.

Dark Samples (11 Animals) – $680.00

  1. Night Beaver – $57.00.
  2. Sapa Cougar – $65.00.
  3. Rutile Horn Ram – $58.00.

Light Samples (10 Animals) – $500.00

  1. Moon Beaver.
  2. Inahme Elk – $51.00.
  3. Moonstone Wolf – $41.00.

Red & Blond Samples (12 Animals) – $700.00

  1. Payta Bison – $63.00.

Patterned Samples (9 Animals) – $480.00

  1. Icahi Boar – $44.00.
  2. Cross Fox – $58.00.

The above listed collections can be viewed in the Animal Field Guide which is located under Progress > Roles > Naturalist > Animal Field Guide. Not all animals can be sampled or stamped with many common critters being killed if you attempt to sedate them.

Naturalist Role Poached Animal Missions & Legendary Animal Sightings

Important Note: Harriet gets mad if you kill animals which can prove difficult given the conflicting nature of the different roles in the game. If you kill a number of animals (20+ it seems) and return to her she will spray you in the face again like she did when you first met. After you wake up away from Harriet you will be locked out of interacting with her for about 5 minutes.

After you’ve become a Naturalist you can begin to search for animals in the open world or you can speak to Harriet to complete Poached Animals missions. These missions typically task you with stopping poachers by going to their camps and killing them all. Completing a Poached Animals mission will net you 250 Naturalist XP. Poached Animals missions do have a short cool-down between when completions so you will need to spend your time on other activities while you wait.

Image showing a Naturalist Hunt mission in Red Dead Online.

Alongside the Poached Animals missions Harriet will start giving Legendary Animal Sightings at Naturalist Level 5. These sightings are missions you can complete that always contain a specific Legendary Animal. Completing one of these hunts will earn you Naturalist XP and a Legendary Sample if you don’t kill the animal. If you do kill the animal you get XP and its animal parts and pelts as your rewards.

The Legendary Animal Sightings should be your primary focus when you unlock them as they reward you will 400 Naturalist XP and a sample worth 300-400 XP. Grinding these missions when they are available is a quick way to level up this role. Currently you can find the following Legendary Animals in these missions:

  • Cross Fox.
  • Moonstone Wolf.
  • Night Beaver.
  • Payta Bison.
  • Sapa Cougar.
  • Icahi Boar.
  • Inahme Elk.
  • Rutile Horn Ram.
  • Golden Spirit Bear.

While you only start with having access to one mission at the start you can unlock up to three available at a time by leveling up the role. This gives you more access to the Legendary Animals listed above. If you play all the missions available from Harriet you will want to play a Poached Animals mission to refresh the list.

Legendary Animal Locations Map RDO

Image showing the Legendary Animal Locations Map RDO.

When you purchase the sample kit you will receive a Legendary Animal Map you can view from your satchel. Viewing the map (shown above) shows you the general locations of the Legendary Animals you can hunt. Going to these areas on the map does not guarantee you will encounter a Legendary Animal however.

To combat this RNG slightly you can purchase Legendary Animal Pheromones from Harriet for $20 per/$400 Stack. When this consumable is used in an area where Legendary Animals can spawn a message will appear either saying there is a Legendary Animal nearby or their isn’t. If a Legendary Animal is nearby a ? will appear on your mini-map which you can use to find the animal.

Also keep in mind you will unlock passive bonuses as you level up the Naturalist role that improve your encounters with Legendary Animals. One specific passive unlocked at Naturalist level 15 is an increase in the Legendary Animals you can encounter in the open-world.

Harriet the Merchant

Image showing what items Harriet sells in Red Dead Online.

Besides giving you a number of quests and tasks to complete Harriet also serves as a merchant. She will by your samples off you and offer to sell you a number of new items:

  • Rifle Cartridges – Sedative Varmint x20.
  • Sample Kit.
  • Wilderness Camp.
  • Blending Tonic.
  • Hardy Tonic.
  • Weight Gain Tonic.
  • Weight Loss Tonic.
  • Potent Weight Gain Tonic.
  • Potent Weight Loss Tonic.
  • Animal Reviver.
  • Legendary Animal Pheromones .
  • Blending Tonic Pamphlet.
  • Animal Reviver Pamphlet.
  • Legendary Animal Pheromones Pamphlet.
  • Sedative Varmint Cartridge Pamphlet.

Like the other roles you need to level up to unlock the different items Harriet offers to sell. To have everything unlocked in Harriet’s store you need to reach at least Naturalist Level 10.

Naturalist Leveling and Other Tips

It is still pretty early to tell what the leveling meta will be for this role, but I’ve decided to jot down a few of my observations if they are worthwhile for you.

  • Get the Twitch Prime bonus if you can as it gives three Naturalist levels.
  • Common samples are worth 50 Naturalist XP and Legendary are worth 300-400 Naturalist XP.
  • The missions at Level 5 are really good for leveling. They reward 300 Naturalist XP for completion and a Legendary sample worth 300-400 Naturalist XP if you don’t kill the animal.
  • When doing Poached Animal missions always bring your Varmint Rifle so you can use it on the animal in the cage after you’ve free’d them. It appears they put more rare commons in the cages like bears, wolves, and cougars.
  • Reviving animals rewards you with 10 Naturalist XP.
  • Animals you sedate will wake up and run away if left alone long enough. This removes their icon from the mini-map.

These are just a few of my observations so far. If you have a method of leveling rather quickly let me know in the comments and I will add it to the list above.

Thoughts on our Red Dead Online Naturalist role guide? Drop them in The Pit below.


Starting the site back in 2016, Eli has poured blood, sweat and tears into making HtR a premiere spot for neckbeards and nerds alike.

3 responses

  1. Mac says:

    Hey, found this through google, after checking out like 4 other “guides” on other sites.. This is literally the only one that actually had any real details or insights or explanations for how the role works. Most read like they didn’t even play the game, and just regurgitate the official press release statements of the game.

    I learned like 5 things I had NO idea about here. I’ve been holding onto all of my samples instead of selling them, thinking it worked like the Collector role and I needed a whole set of samples!! Now I know that selling them is what gives you the stamp, which I didn’t know was supposed to be a stamp!!

    Thanks a bunch man, this is genuinely really well done and so thorough. I haven’t seen a real guide like this since like 2008. Hahahaha!!!

  2. DK says:

    The online aspect is that when random legendaries spawn in, if there are other players near you they can come and either kill the one you’re trying to sedate or kill you while you’re trying to skin!!

  3. danielb says:

    So, what’s the online aspect of this?? Are you competing with others?

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