Red Dead Redemption 2 has more than 200 animals in it, and you can style your horse's mane

Oh sure, plenty of Red Dead Redemption 2 (opens in new tab) trailers thus far have focused on the violence and social politics of the Old West, but let us not forget who the real stars of this game are: the horses. And the coyotes, and the bears, and the alligators, and the... well, we'll be here all day at this rate, because Rockstar claims RDR 2 has more than 200 animal species.

In a new update on the official Red Dead Redemption 2 website (opens in new tab), Rockstar provides a few field guide-style sketches of just a handful of the critters you're liable to come across in your travels. Not all of these are dangerous or deadly, but already there's quite the variety of life on display:

Update: Rockstar has shown off even more of RDR2's wildlife, this time with in-game screenshots. It appears these critters won't just be minding their own business, as several are seen clutching smaller prey in their jaw and/or talons.

While some players may be totally fine with simply admiring nature in all its digital splendor, plenty others will no doubt be inclined to pick up a rifle or bow and go hunting. This is, after all, the Old West - you can't exactly just order your supplies through Amazon.

And whether you're hunting for sport, food, or trade materials, you'll need to factor in things like noise, wind direction, shot placement, and the gauge of your rifle if you want to get a clean kill. After that, dress and clean the animal for trade, prep the meat for food, or save the furs and hide for crafting.

Not all animals are out to eat or be eaten, though. You can catch and tame wild horses, then increase your bond with the animal to turn it from a bucking bronco into a trusty steed. There are 19 breeds of horse to find in Red Dead Redemption 2, each with its own unique characteristics (such as the Appaloosa's iconic spots).

While you can't change a horse's natural coat, you'll be able to outfit it with a wide variety of saddles, saddle horns, stirrups, bridle, etc. You can also change your horse's mane and tail style, which is just the best. Man I hope braiding is an option. I want to ride the prettiest pony into battle against lawmen and cutthroats alike.

Keeping a horse well-groomed and taken care of isn't just for show either: the more attention you pay to your horse, the better your bond. The better your bond, the more your horse's strength, speed, and stamina will increase. You can also do fancier maneuvers and it'll be harder to spook in combat.

Look, I've been kind of down on Red Dead 2 in the past - it just never seemed like my kind of game. But now that I know I can collect a stable of horses and make them all the most gorgeous studs and mares in the West, I'm all in.

You may have heard recently about Red Dead Redemption 2 microtransactions (opens in new tab) - we break down how they could work so you can go into the game informed. As for the Red Dead Redemption 2 multiplayer mode, Red Dead Online (opens in new tab), that's still largely a mystery - at least for now. 

Sam is a former News Editor here at GamesRadar. His expert words have appeared on many of the web's well-known gaming sites, including Joystiq, Penny Arcade, Destructoid, and G4 Media, among others. Sam has a serious soft spot for MOBAs, MMOs, and emo music. Forever a farm boy, forever a '90s kid.