Pets are one of life’s simple joys; they are the hair on your favorite black hoodie and the scratch marks on your brand new couch. They make this world a more bearable place and, it’s no surprise, they have the same role in Conan Exiles. As brutal as the world of this survival game can be, Funcom has decided to allow you a bit of relief in the form of a cuddly and deadly companion to accompany you across the Exiled Lands.
You’ll get to raise your creature from just a small, yet very heavy, adorable baby, into a large and fearsome beast. You’ll get to take your Conan Exiles pets on long adventures to level it up into the fearsome creature you know it was born to be. You’ll get to dote on it, name it, and even feed it special foods to determine what kind of absolute wrecking ball your furball will turn into. And then, eventually, you’ll fall off a cliff in a high-level area, bite off more than you can chew in a dungeon, or get glitched into the mountainside in a deep cavern, and return to find your best pixel buddy dead and gone forever. This is the way of Conan Exiles.
It’s a bit of a process to make and raise an animal companion in Conan Exiles compared to other games. You must build an animal pen, go find a baby animal of the species you want, feed it a specific food to craft the adult animal in the pen, and then take that animal out into the world with usually a different specific food in its inventory and level it up.
You’ll feed them a specific food in the animal pen to increase their chances of turning into a greater variant, and you’ll feed them specific food while they level to increase their chances of leveling your preferred stats. Make sure to look up your species’ preferred foods, its different for each companion. The greater variant is an obvious choice and always worth the effort, their starter stats are multiple times that of a standard companion, but what stats you want to level is a personal choice. Usually, it’s strength.
Disclaimer: The Reality of Raising an Animal Companion in Conan Exiles
Let’s go ahead and get it out of the way first: animal companions are not as viable as thralls in Conan Exiles when leveled with the same care. They cannot wear equipment at all, while there are no limitations to the epic gear you can equip on a thrall. Raising an animal companion as your primary companion is a choice to give up some power and survivability for max cuteness and clout.
There is one big bonus to raising animal companions. Their greater variant is much easier to mass-produce than named fighter thralls are, so their objective advantage is how relatively easy they are to acquire. In single-player it’s probably never going to matter to you, their weaknesses or their strengths, but in multiplayer, animal companions are seen as a quick and terrifying base defense option. Imagine rolling up on a base full of greater panthers. They were not particularly difficult for the owner to acquire, but it will be easy for them to ruin your day.
How to Build an Animal Pen
First things first, you’ll need a nursery for baby animals that you find out in the wild. They don’t have to stay in the pen forever, just until they are old enough to fend for themselves. The animal pen takes up a huge imprint in your base and its upgraded versions are even larger. It must go in your base on a PVP server or your companions are at risk of theft from the jealous masses. Clear out a big area and swing your fence wide to accommodate one of the largest “crafting stations” you’ll need to fit inside your walls. If you don’t mind it in your inventory you can always craft it first to get an idea of the footprint before you chose its permanent location.
At level 13 you can learn the apprentice tamer feat, which will teach you both the animal pen and the small animal pen. The small animal pen is not a very viable station, so it’s best to go ahead and save up the resources for the standard animal pen. The animal pen will cost you 300 stone, 400 wood, and 20 twine. Lucky you, none of the ingredients require any processing at craftsman benches for your first pen. Everything can be collected and crafted with a pick, axe, and your hands.
Baby Animals and Transportation
After your animal pen is constructed, it’s time to go out into the world and find some baby animals. As it turns out, they are quite heavy and do not stack. It may not be the adventure you were looking for, but it’s best to tame and take along a temporary companion to carry the more valuable and difficult-to-reach cubs. The easiest way to guarantee you will end up with the animal companion of your dreams is to have enough transportation space for several babies of that species.
While you could try to do it all yourself, having a little patience in this department pays off. Instead of heading straight out to capture something more difficult like a panther or rhino, consider grabbing one of the hundred shaleback babies you run by every day to raise in the animal pen just to carry your things. This way when you are ready to go after the pet you want, you’ll be able to bring several babies back to the pen. The best animal for cheap and easy transportation is the kudu. The babies are plentiful and easy to grab and they have one of the largest inventories in the game.
Let’s Go Find Your Baby Animal
You will find baby animals where large families of the adult versions live. They are smaller and cuter and wander close to their parents. They will not attack you, but instead, run away when you get too close. It is easy to lose a baby animal when it runs, especially if you are trying to grab two at a time or if you must contend with the parents. You will need to manually move each baby animal into your transport companion’s inventory to avoid becoming encumbered.
The only real requirement for whether you can have a particular type of animal companion in Conan Exiles is whether or not you and your transport animal can survive the biome it’s located in. You may be able to sneak by most mobs in the area, but it is particularly difficult to avoid combat with the animal’s parents. It’s my suggestion to go ahead and get this out of the way. Due to the weight of the babies and their running pattern it is easy to get over-encumbered and aggro the adult version with dangerous results.
Try to grab as many babies as possible while you’re in the area because it is unlikely you will end up with the best version by raising just one cub. Be aware of the type of food you need for the baby animal of your choice in the animal pen, often their favorite food can be picked up in the same area as them.
What to Feed Your Baby Animal in the Animal Pen: The Greater Variant
Your animal pen should be able to craft up to 5 baby animals at once. They will only need one food item to start the crafting process, and then it’s best to remove the remainder to use for something else (if it’s valuable). The adult animals will eat whatever you leave in the pen once they’re done crafting, and usually all they produce is dung.
The reason that I’ve been nagging you to grab as many cubs as possible when on a baby animal run is because most animal followers in Conan Exiles have two or more options to craft into. There is usually a version with far superior stats that they have a chance to craft into called the greater variant. Whether you end up with this version or not will be totally up to chance, but there are some things you can do to help.
Primarily, what you feed your baby animal in the animal pen to craft it into its adult version will determine the likelihood of crafting a greater variant of the animal. Some foods only have a small chance of crafting the variant, likely requiring many more baby animals before success, while others have a much higher chance. There are exceptions to every rule in Conan, but generally, animals have a favorite food in the pen which will increase your chances to 20%, and then you can shadespice that food to increase your chances to 30% to craft their greater variant.
You will be able to tell if you’ve managed to craft a great variant when you go to place your animal. Usually, they will look much cooler than their standard versions, but you can also check their name on their stats page. After you clock their “greater” designation, you can rename them something rad and take them out into the world to begin leveling.
Shadespicing and You: Why Bother?
Deciding whether to shadespice or not depends on how difficult it was to obtain the baby animal and whether it’s even possible for you to do so at your level. To shadespice food, you need an oven, several of the original item, and shadebloom. Obtaining shadebloom is not easy, so sometimes it makes more sense to make an additional trip to grab more babies than to try and shadespice their animal pen food.
If you a combination of well-geared, have some friends, or are max level or close to it you could consider running the midnight grove for shadebloom. The midnight grove is a difficult dungeon, but the bonus of running it is that there will also be tons of baby animals to pick up.
Shadespicing: Running the Midnight Grove for Shadebloom
To enter the midnight grove you will need to speak to the child of Jhebbal Seg at the Den. This NPC is a werehyena and one of the only friendly creatures in the area. You’ll find the den in E8 and the creatures there are hostile. If you’re having any difficulty with them, though, you should not attempt the midnight grove. The werehyena will sell you a midnight potion for 5 feral flesh that transports you to the grove or teach you how to make it yourself at your alchemist’s bench.
The potion expires rapidly, so you must be ready to leave when you either purchase the potion or craft it. Have a backup set of armor and thrall ready to go to retrieve your original set if the midnight grove does not work out for you. Also, consider taking a bearer thrall to make the most out of your run. A well-geared, fully leveled, named bearer thrall is an ideal companion in most dungeons, but especially in the midnight grove.
Bring your best pick to harvest shadebloom from fallen bosses and your best skinning knife to harvest leather from everything else. The mobs here do drop a decent amount of food and loot, but packing your own to keep your health up is always a good idea. Healing arrows and a shield will both be necessary for the bosses, depending on whether you or your follower has drawn aggro. Good luck!
What to Feed You Pet While it Levels
Hold on young champion, before you head out into the world with your new pet, there are some specifics you need to know about how they level. While you no longer have to feed a pet to keep it alive, there are a couple of benefits to keeping food in their inventory. While you might assume that whatever food you used to craft your companion in the animal pen will suffice, it is often not the most effective food to keep in their inventory as adults. Our tastes evolve as we age, and so do theirs.
The most important one for you to know about now is that you can affect which stats your follower levels by what you feed it. For instance, if you would like your greater bear to increase her strength stat as she levels, it’s best to feed her unappetizing fish for a 14% higher chance that she will add to strength each level. If instead, you rather she had a larger health pool, you can feed her savory fish for a 14% higher chance to raise her vitality. If you’d like a 7% higher chance to raise both agility and strength, for a well-rounded bear, just feed her honey. Each animal has different preferred foods that add these bonuses.
These mechanics are a little more complicated than just “want strong bear feed fish” though. The food adds to their pre-existing gain percentage. Each companion is born with a different spread on their stats page. You’ll find your particular companion’s chance to gain next to its corresponding stat on their character sheet. If you already have a bear predisposed to gaining strength at every level (say 60-70% likely) you may consider applying your percentage boost to a different stat (like agility), because you are already very likely to gain strength at every level with this particular bear.
What to Feed Your Pet at Max Level
Keeping food in your pet’s inventory has some additional benefits outside of affecting the stats that they level. When your animal follower takes damage, they will start consuming food out of their inventory and apply a healing and strength buff to themselves. The strength buff appears to be the same across the board, but there are better and worse foods to feed for the healing buff.
While you should focus on stats while your pet still has some levels to gain, you can feel free to switch gears once they’ve maxed out. Keep the food with the highest healing bonus in your pet’s inventory, or the one with the highest bonus that you are willing to put the effort into acquiring. Sometimes the difference between a +9pts/sec healing bonus food item and a +10 pts/sec healing bonus food item is quite a bit of work.
In the case of my greater panther Lucy: I would ideally feed her blood sausage to get a +10pts/sec healing buff while we are in combat in addition to her strength buff. Using 5 blood per food item is a bit pricey for my own blood, so instead, I feed her trail jerky so she’ll have a +8pts/sec healing buff along with her strength buff while in combat. When I have the blood to spend on her I do, but she’s often eating jerky and I don’t notice much of a difference when we’re in the thick of it.
Great Beginner Pets
If you’d like to go ahead and secure your animal companion now, several great options are easy to access for new players or new characters. The two combat viable companions in the beginner area are the hyena and the crocodile.
Hyenas are great options for ranged and mobile players. Their crippling effect will keep many of your enemies at bay while you move around the combat field and if you level their strength they can end up hitting like a truck. Their rapid attack patterns and cripple even make the greater versions a viable PVP option when you reach your max level and they reach theirs. There are plenty of folks on PVP servers that swear by the usefulness of a greater hyena as a pesterer and damage dealer that lands most of its hits.
Crocodiles are my personal favorite for beginners because of their absence of a physical box for their owners to have to navigate around. Most Conan Exiles pets and thralls are constantly in the way. This is more than a small inconvenience; it will downright get you killed in a tight combat environment. For whatever reason Funcom has decided to get rid of a crocodile companions physical box for players, maybe because logically they could just step over them. Crocodiles can also stack bleed more than any other pet, which works well for heavily armored bosses and high health pools.
Best All-Around Pets
Conan Exiles does a great job of making a wide selection of followers valuable if care is gone into raising and leveling them, but there are a few that separate themselves from the pack in the pet department. PVP and PVE have very different requirements in the Exiled Lands so there needs to be a distinction between the most ideal pet to use for either. Nobody will attack your follower while PVPing, so health and armor can be traded for pure damage-dealing ability. In addition, most real players move quite a bit more quickly than NPCs, so your PVP pet’s ability to land a hit will be critical.
The best all-around pets are the sabretooth tiger for PVP and the sandreaper queen for PVE and base defense.
The sandreaper queen’s vomit attack is by far the hardest-hitting pet attack in the game, especially if the entire thing lands. It will apply poison rapidly and keep it applied in a PVE environment. Her melee attacks also do top-tier damage and she cannot be stunned. In addition, she has high armor and health, making her a very tough beast to bring down.
Sandreaper queens are great for base defense as well, their spit attack applies 10 stacks of poison almost at once, and while a PVP player may be able to dodge this attack out in the world, it will be more difficult for them to do so while fighting off the rest of your base. She does very well against the purge, who are even less likely to dodge her poison vomit.
To acquire a sandreaper queen you will need to buy several locust eggs from the merchant in Flotsam near Buccaneer Bay in N7. This entire area is hostile except for the merchant, so you’ll need to clear it first. If you’re having issues clearing the area, it is unlikely you will be able to run the midnight grove to acquire enough shadebloom to craft the queen, so you may need to gear up a bit and return later.
You will be shadespicing quite a bit of human flesh to craft the sandreaper queen from your locust spawns even after you’ve managed to acquire and hatch an egg. There is only a 10% chance, even with shadespiced human flesh, to craft the queen. You can use the other reapers, but their stats leave a lot to be desired compared to the queen.
The sabretooth tiger is an ideal PVP companion. If they’ve been leveled with strength in mind, they hit like a truck. In addition, sabretooth tigers apply a bleed that will keep your opponent from healing for long stretches of your fight. Having a strong pet is great, but their attacks must land when you’re up against another player. Sabretooth tigers’ quick attacks are much more difficult to dodge than some of their slower peers. Overall, any of the large cats make great PVPers, and the sabretooth tiger is the most powerful and fastest in the group.
Their cubs are also some of the most difficult to capture, especially because you need enough of them to get a greater variant. You must have good enough cold-weather gear crafted, or enough booze brewed, to travel the frozen north in search of your cub. The mobs there, including the adult sabretooth, are pretty brutal and it’s not a task for a player under at least level 40. There are reliable spawns of sabretooth kittens along the mountain chains in D13 and through the center of G11. Sometimes the kittens will only spawn if you kill the parents and circle back. Don’t be afraid to check in the caves!
Get Rich Quick Pets: Best Animal Pen Only Pets
Another great aspect of pet ownership in Conan Exiles is their value in the animal pen. Sure, they make great combat companions, but sometimes farming is the way to go when it comes to tameable animals. If instead of placing a fully grown animal out in the world, you leave it in the animal pen and feed it, it will start producing whatever its species’ particular by-product is (usually that’s dung).
Your first barn animal will be solely for dung production. You’ll need dung for your compost heaps to make compost for your planters and grubs for your fishing traps. While most animals produce dung in the animal pens, the most efficient ones are cheap to feed. Adult shalebacks and kudus only require fiber to produce dung, so they are solid options for your compost heap suppliers.
Next up, we start dabbling in more complicated farming operations. I would suggest a pen of spiders as your next venture. Raising a pen of spiders will keep you supplied with ichor, which is a valuable component at your alchemist’s bench. Spider eggs do not exist in the wild, you’ll need to buy spider eggs from a merchant in Flotsam in N7 with 10 gold coins. The obvious hurdle here is not only clearing your way to the merchant but your ability to put together at least 10 gold coins with the coin mold and gold bars or find them out in the world. Spiders eat spoiled meat, so once you’re able to stock a pen with some, ichor will be a much easier resource to come by.
Lastly, for those with expensive taste, an animal pen of gold-vein rocknoses will keep you on the Conan 500. You will also need to travel to a merchant for rocknose eggs, they cannot be found in the wild. Their merchant is an NPC named Shawna the Strange that lives in the Den at E8. For 10 gold coins, you can purchase a rocknose egg. For spiders and shoebills, you’ll only need as many eggs as beasts you want in production. All of their versions work well in a production pen. For rocknoses, you’ll need to purchase quite a few to end up with a gold-vein rocknose.
You can hatch your rocknose eggs into pebblenoses to add them to the animal pen and then grind up even more gold to feed your hatched pebblenoses for a 20% chance at a gold-veined rocknose. Once you’ve managed to craft a gold-veined rocknose, you’ll only need to feed it normal stone for a steady income of goldstone and ironstone.
Conan Exiles Pets FAQ
Question: How do you get pets in Conan Exiles?
Answer: You must first construct an animal pen and then go out and find a baby animal of the species you want. Baby animals can be found around large groups of their parents.
Question: Can you tame creatures in Conan Exiles?
Answer: Yes! Most of the creatures in Conan Exiles can be raised as a companion. You do not tame the adults, but raise your own by capturing one of their cubs.
Question: What are the best pets in Conan Exiles?
Answer: The best pets are the sandreaper queen for PVE and the sabretooth tiger for PVP. There are many other viable pets for both, so don’t get bogged down if you are unable to get either of these.
What do pets do in Conan?
Most of the time, pets guard your base. You can take your favorite with you to level as a combat companion. You can also fill a whole pen full of spiders, shoebills, or rocknoses to farm valuable resources.
Question: Are pets good in Conan Exiles?
Answer: They are incredibly beneficial, but they are currently not as strong as thralls. You can equip epic gear onto a thrall. Pet stats can’t compete.
Question: What’s a good low-level pet in Conan Exiles?
Answer: Some great low-level options are the hyena or the crocodile. The hyena applies a cripple, while the crocodile applies a bleed. You could also consider a kudu for transport, they have a very large inventory.
Question: What should I feed my baby animal in the animal pen?
Answer: Each animal has a specific food that increases its chances to become a greater variant of its species. Look up this food item to feed to your baby animal in the pen, they will only need one item to craft.
Animal Followers Are Animal Friends
A deep and well-thought-out companion system is certainly appreciated by Conan players, but it can be a lot to bite off all at once. Fortunately for you, animal pens raise 5 babies at once and there are always more to be found out in the wild if you make a mistake or change your mind. What’s important is knowing what to feed them in the animal pen and what to feed them as adults.
Most species can make viable enough animal followers, and it’s wonderful that Funcom doesn’t railroad players into only one choice for their end game content. You can certainly put a ton of time into finding and raising the follower with the very best stats for any situation, but it’s not necessary. Conan is a complex survival game, and entirely chaotic. Having the absolute best-in-class companion may be compulsory in some other, more structured games, but in the mess that is the Exiled Lands, there is a lot of room for personality. Any animal companion is a huge help, no matter what stage of the game you are in.