What did the animals eat on Noah’s ark?

HomeChristianity and the BibleWhat did the animals eat on Noah’s ark?

Adrian asked a question that I’d never heard before:

If Noah had obligate carnivores (carnivores that must eat meat to thrive) on the ark, what did they eat? I have asked other people and they give me a cliche answer of ‘God told them to eat grass’ or something along those lines. But I don’t think they could survive for 40 nights and 40 days on strictly grass. Since they would die of malnutrition in a short period of time. Thanks in advance.

Thanks, Adrian. The first step to clearing up any confusion is to actually go directly to the source material in question. In this case, it’s the Bible…specifically, Genesis 6. Go read the events surrounding Noah’s ark and you’ll see that Noah was instructed by God to do very specific things. Here’s a quote (verses 19-22):

You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them. Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

They were on the ark to be kept alive, so Noah brought along not just animals, but food as well. I’m not sure why those other people you asked weren’t able to just look it up, but there you go. Easy peasy.

Thanks for asking, Adrian.


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7 responses to “What did the animals eat on Noah’s ark?”

  1. Gerry says:

    Not 40 days and 40 nights

    • Tony says:

      You are correct, Gerry. It rained for that long, but they were in the ark for much longer. The question was about food, so that was my focus.

  2. Casey says:

    This may sound like I’m joking but I’m actually serious. Would they have taken a boy and a girl of each animal or was it just random?

    • Tony says:

      Casey:

      Thanks for writing! The key is to actually read the text itself. In Genesis 6 we see verse 19, which should answer your question:

      You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.

      I’m curious: do you believe that there really was a flood, and an ark? I do, but I’d like to know what you think. Thanks!

      • Casey says:

        Well in answer to your question, I do believe that there was a flood and an ark. My only other question is, when God asked Noah to build an ark, what made Noah do it immediately without question?

        • Tony says:

          Casey:

          We don’t know whether Noah spent a few weeks thinking about it, or whether he said, “You’re kidding…right?” or whether he just followed instructions without questioning anything. The text doesn’t say what Noah thought at that point, so we don’t have that info. A good principle is ‘where Scripture speaks, we speak…where Scripture is silent, we are silent.’ It’s totally fine to speculate, but without more information we just can’t say for sure what happened.

          Maybe Noah figured that when God tells you something, you should pay attention and follow His lead.

  3. Anders says:

    I always assumed that there were no carnivorous animals on the ark. Adam and Eve were vegetarians, at least until they left the garden of Eden, and animals before the fall were like animals will be in the end times; “The lion shall eat straw like the ox.” (Is. 11.7). Noah and his family did not eat flesh until after the flood (Gen. 9.3), but it is not unlikely that other people were eating flesh long before that, and that animals had begun killing and eating each other soon after the fall as well. So if carnivorous animals on the ark required fresh meat, then perhaps Gen. 7.2 provides a clue as to where that meat came from. “Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal.” Only two of each UNCLEAN species were required for their preservation, but the six extra CLEAN animals could have been food for carnivores… as well as for sacrificing (Gen 8.20).

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