No Man’s Sky: How To Find Creatures Quickly

A final means to earn money in No Man’s Sky is by logging the many discoveries you’ll make as you explore (though you’d think the many alien races who clearly got here first might’ve got around to that). Your findings are listed under the Discoveries tab of the pause menu. Anything marked with a red chevron has not yet been logged.

Discovering a new star system is an easy 5,000 units, while animal discoveries award about 2,000 units, and plants give about 500. There’s a large bonus if you can discover all the animal species on a planet. This bonus can run into the hundreds of thousands, and it’s pretty much the only way that exploration becomes almost as profitable as trade, so don’t aim for anything less if you’re going to take this seriously. With that in mind, we present a few quick tips for hunting animals.

Understanding your analysis visor

Grey pulsating dots indicate species that your visor can detect, but which are too far away to be identified. When you get close enough, light green dots indicate creatures you’ve already scanned, while red dots are unknown.

Creatures can look similar, but be different

Sean Murray has said that code exists in No Man’s Sky which simulates evolution, meaning creatures in the game may develop similar body parts as they adapt to a particular planet. We love this aspect of the game for its realism, but it can be a little misleading when trying to catalogue the species on each planet.

Amazingly, there are two different species of alien horse-cow in this picture

The lesson: just because this squirrel-like thing looks similar to the squirrel-like thing you already scanned, don’t assume it is. It could have a different tail, or something, and though these differences may be minor, they all still count as individual analyses. Take the extra second and scan everything.

No Man’s Sky: Where to find creatures

Animals don’t behave uniformly on Earth, and nor do they in space. Certain species may only spawn at night or in particular environments, such as caves, low (or high) altitudes, or in extreme weather conditions. If your planet has water, chances are good that some of its animal species will live in it (watch your oxygen gauge, and remember you can upgrade your exosuit to stay underwater for longer). And forgive us for stating the obvious, but look up; some animals fly.

Easiest 200 credits I ever made.

Kill quick animals to make them easier to scan

It may seem cruel, but objectively, dead things don’t usually move. Let’s see how humane you are when the last undiscovered species on a planet is a bird that keeps flying out of your scan range. If this happens, try and track it with your mining laser – black smoke indicates that you’ve scored a hit – and follow its corpse when it falls out of the sky.

Bizarrely, all the treasure your animal friends unearth will be dodecahedron-shaped.

Get rare elements by feeding animals

If you’re looking for a reason to be kind as well as cruel, No Man’s Sky’s gentler creatures are it. You’ll notice you can feed certain animals – typically, the ones that don’t try to feed on you – with a common element like iron or carbon. If you do so, they’ll dance and chirp contentedly around you, flashing a smiley face. Stick around for a moment, and they will merrily lead you to resource caches, or dig up elements and present them to you as a way of saying thanks. Occasionally, these gifts can include the incredibly rare and valuable “precious” elements. In the Euclid galaxy, karma is real.

Though scanning an entire planet’s worth of animals is a great way to make money, you can also do so by learning No Man’s Sky’s galactic market and learning how to efficiently gather resources. You’ll also probably want to increase your ship and exosuit inventory slots. Or hit up our No Man’s Sky guide hub for more.

Disclosure: Our Alec did some writing for No Man’s Sky, and so doesn’t write about it for us anymore.


  1. Haldurson says:

    I keep seeing this same tip, to feed animals. But how the heck do you do that? I don’t know of any control that lets you throw carbon or iron like a doggy treat.

    • CartonofMilk says:

      you have to get close to them. the option to interact with them will appear. You dont throw the food at them, you give it to them.

  2. daver4470 says:

    I haven’t seen anyone mention this — but you can scan rocks as well. Some of them — mainly the lumpy ones — scan as unique mineral forms, like “fraziomite” and such. They reward small amounts of credits, and don’t count (obviously) towards your completion goal — but money is money.

  3. DeyvsonMC says:

    I already found animals in 9 planets, going for the last planet. I have two strong tips that helped me:

    1 – Go for the moons, not the planets. On moons the animals are packed together and are far easier to find. I never got frustrated searching for hours on end on moons.

    2 – Some planets look like they have no water, but they have. Search for small ponds that probably have small fishes.

    3 – Never spend more than an hour searching for the last species, I already lost two days doing that, it’s not worth it. If it takes too long, just give up. I already found moons where I could find all the animals in less that half an hour.

    • DeyvsonMC says:

      3 tips, in fact.

    • hawkmoon says:

      #3 Especially. Take this from a borderline OCD’er! I was aiming to document my travels to each planet and all the species I found enroute to centre and wanted to keep a clean sheet of 100% disco’s, but it’s been a ‘no-can-do’ situation.

      For starters there’s a bug that doesn’t always allow you to complete your uploaded discoveries.

      Secondly, on two of the planets / moons I’ve dropped on now, I’ve spent upwards of 10 hours+ trying to track the last creature, for the sake of completeness, with no luck and ended up abandoning my efforts out of frustration. It’s just not worth it.

      I think on two occasions I have actually found the final creature after about 7 hours, it’s quite a relief and sometimes can be a pay off if they’re of the exotic ‘look at me!’ variety, but really not worth all that time. And who’s to say there’s not some bug that isn’t spawning the final creature or spawning it somewhere it shouldn’t spawn in some instances? As a player you might not ever know.

      One important tip I don’t think I saw here is that the order of creatures discovered on the discoveries tab appears to have the flow of…

      LAND creatures
      AIR creatures
      SEA creatures

      (moving from top to bottom and left to right)

      Actually it might be LAND-SEA-AIR I forget as not in game right now, definitely land first. Might be a good tip to help identify where you may need to look. I’ve often found two sorts of bird creatures, and two sea based creatures on a single planet, so sometimes there’s more than one to be found in those areas.

      Also there are some minute creatures including tiny moths / butterflies, so don’t just assume all the smaller floaty stuff are particle effects. One creature that I found was a tiny floating glowing orb thing, and another a tiny butterfly with translucent wings!

      But yeah wholeheartedly agree with tip #3 – 1 hour tops, 2 hours if you’re a sado-masochist, anything beyond that I really wouldn’t bother, I don’t think I will be doing.