How Did They Feed All of the Animals on the Ark?

Short Answer: With the food God commanded Noah to bring onto the Ark

Bible reference: Genesis 6:21

“And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.”

God told Noah to bring all food that is eaten aboard the Ark for himself, his family and the animals. It should be noted that originally man and the animals ate plants [Genesis 1:29-30]. The fossil record reveals that many of those animals had become meat eaters before the Flood, but mankind was not permitted to eat meat until after Noah and his family left the Ark [Genesis 9: 2-3]. Creation scientists suspect that God caused meat eaters like lions and T-rexes to eat plants as they originally had when God created them, before Adam sinned and death entered the world. [See Why Didn’t All of the Lions & Tigers & T-rexes [oh my!] Eat Everyone on the Ark? for further information]. So we suspect that “all food that is eaten” were plants.

While the Bible doesn’t tell us specifically how Noah and his sons fed the animals, Creation scientists have suggested that they used a system similar to a birdfeeder. Basically, the animal’s food dish would continually fill itself. Some animals may have hibernated and would not have needed food during these long periods of sleep.

Creationists have also entertained the possibility that meat eaters could have been sustained on dried fish, packed away in barrels.


51 Responses to How Did They Feed All of the Animals on the Ark?

  1. brandon berry says:

    Great articles keep up the good work aaron heavenly rewards seek first the kingdom all thing to be added unto you

    • Magno Jr. says:

      How was it possible for the various tons of meat to feed the lions, tigers, panthers, wolves, foxes, etc., not having spoiled during the 40 days that the ark floated? Did Noah put everything in the “freezer” of the ark? Please do not abuse my intelligence.

      • Tony Breeden says:

        Have you never heard of salt-cured meat and fish? Barrels of cured meat formed the core of the staple diet of sailors on long voyages during the Age of Sail, especially those exceeding 100 days.

        Spealing of which, the Ark was on the water for longer than 40 days (see on this very site].

      • John Mounford says:

        Packed in vessels with brine, perhaps and/or preservative.

      • Phil g says:

        actually mango jr it rained for 40 days and 40 nights it was any wheres from 150 to 200 plus days before the ark was said to find land. then the water would have to give way to land. Then the new plants would have to grow all the while feed all the animals and 8 humans. Like I said just to far fetched for me,,, I could go on for days on this subject.. how long did it take to build the ark ? 120 years ? how did 8 people feed every animal in the world and clean every animal in the world., yet I have yet to see a zoo with every animal in the world in it. I understand you need to believe to find all this possible… its not that I dont believe, I just do not find this possible. even if they all ate hay and fish (humans included ) they would have to bail this hay,(with out bailers) so they would have to fill a huge portion of the ark with hay and then where did the animals live an elephant alone eats hundreds of pounds of grass a day, times that by 200 days, then frsh water needed to sustain life for all those animals

      • Tony Breeden says:

        How many animals do you think they had to feed? It looks like you are objecting to what you have not first bothered to understand.

  2. Aaron says:

    Very impressive! Even with just the reptiles, mammals, and birds that live today, you have 25,000 species, plus Noah had all the extinct ones like dinosaurs too. With two of each kind, that might be 60,000 animals! Even if Noah’s family slept in shifts so that someone could always be feeding them, they still managed to provide new food to 2,500 animals an hour— meaning it took less than a second and a half to feed each one. God is great

    • Aaron,

      Your objection is based on a misunderstanding of what creationists actually believe. I am aware that there are high school and college science textbooks that popularize the species=created kinds straw man, but the fact of the matter is that the Biblical created kind is not analogous to species. In fact, we generally place the created kind [with a few exceptions] at the family taxon. It may surprise you but creationists affirm observable horizontal biological changes like speciation, adaptation, mutation and natural selection; we only reject proposed vertical [phyletic] changes because no one has ever observed one kind of organism turning into another, but we do see that dogs are still dogs, and recognizeably so, whether they are wolves, Australian shepherds or English bulldogs. This variation within created kinds is remarkable, but no vertical changes are observed.

      In any case, this means that Noah needed far fewer animals than you’ve proposed, thus dismantling your objection.


      • Phil g says:

        so what you are saying is there was just 1 type of dog on the ark ? since the ark that one set of dog mutated into every dog , wolf, coyote and so on that we now have ? and yet we stayed the same ? There was just one cat and since then we got lions, tigers, fox ,every domesticated cat and so on ? it takes millions of years for changes that you speak of to for someones comment about dinosaurs, its been proven man was not alive in the dinosaurs age

      • Tony Breeden says:

        I’m not sure whether to tell you to take a college biology class to remedy you of the notion that natural selection doesn’t operate that fast after a bottleneck event, or whether to tell you to take 15 minutes of honest Google time concerning what creationists actually believe regarding created kinds. Either way, in the future I strongly suggest that you bother to comprehend someone’s position before you vehemently object to it.

  3. Bob Beecher says:

    The most amazing thing is that you attempt to justify what is basically a fairy tale. Of course, if you include magic, you can make anything happen, right?

    What nonsense!

    • Bob,

      While I admire the effort you’ve put into thrashing that straw man, where did I state that Noah used magic to feed the animals? In fact, what creationists typically point out is how plausible the Ark account is if you don’t come at it with your mind already made up. Still, let me ask you a question: How do you account for all of the flood myths evident in nearly every culture that largely agree with the Biblical account if such an event never happened? Of course, even if I included supernatural intervention as part of my explanation, this would merely be consistent with my worldview. Compare this to the evolutionary worldview which must believe that nature can do supernatural things: that everything can come from nothing, that life can come from nonlife and that a frog really can become a prince if we give it enough time! Think about it. -Tony

      • Bill says:

        Never mind the idea that something came from nothing. Science doesn’t have an answer for that yet, and it is not part of the discussion here. The question we are asking is how can all of the impossible factors that went into this ark have been done by one man and his family? We are talking about a flood that a wooden ship the length of 1.5 football fields which could hold up in a storm for 40 days that would make any hurricanes of today look like a light afternoon shower. By current wooden ship design and science, this has been proven to be impossible, as wood that long cannot withstand nautical pressures and phenomenon. A ship like this has actually been made to test the theory, and it failed quickly and miserably. And what about the animals? Poor animals, and poor people. They must have been bumped and jociled and beaten around until they were a bloody mess, not to mention the seasickness which would ensue. There was one window on that ark for light to pass through. I have so many questions you could not even begin to answer, but we will start with these.

      • Tony Breeden says:

        I refer your many technical questions to a more technically-minded site:

        Happy hunting,

    • tom mcpherson says:

      really fairy tales i don’t think so you think your smart because you have science but really your nothing without god so there! but really if you want to get scientific about this there are plenty of facts in genesis sir! 🙂

    • John Mountford says:

      Don’t forget that atheists who believe in evolution believe in magic. No scientist knows how the very first form of life, a simple self reproduceable simple cell could ever have happened and no one has yet produced any form of life in a laboratory so they say ‘we don’t know how it happened. It just did’. So in reality they have to appeal to some kind of magic that caused it to just happen. It takes more faith to believe that scenario than it does to believe in an all powerful, all knowing creator having created all life.
      The story of evolution is a fairy tale because they are made up, just so, stories by fallible humans who try to explain origins without God. Perceiving themselves to be wise, they became fools.

      • Adam Dietz says:

        What if those who believe in evolution 1000 years from now are looked upon as you look upon those who believe in the story of the ark?What if everyone is wrong?Get busy living and stop worrying so much about how it was all created.Would you go to Disney Land and spend all day talking to engineers?

      • Tony Breeden says:

        If there were eternal consequences to that conversation, yes. Yes, I would. Just as I would go to Disney and talk to the engineers if my job was to help maintain the park’s rides.

  4. Bob Beecher says:

    Yeah….how old was this Noah guy? And all the animals in the world just happened to be within walking distance to Noah’s house? As Bill Cosby once said, on the same subject, “Riiiiiiiiiight!”
    Fairy tales!
    I rest my case.

    • Bob,

      Noah’s age is irrelevant to the question, although if you’re interested in a scientific theory to account for long pre-Flood lifespans, there is an excellent one involving deuterium water levels in John Ashton’s new book, Evolution Impossible

      As for how “all of the animals” fit on the Ark, might I suggest you read what we actually believe BEFORE you bother to disagree with it. For example, on this very site we have an article called How Could Dinosaurs Fit on the Ark? that answers the mistaken ideas you have about the Ark account and the number of animals Noah was required to take aboard.

      I also note that you are avoiding the questions I put to you, presumably because you know you have no good answer to offer.


    • John Mountford says:

      Hi Bob, for all you questions, there are answers and you’ll best find them on the website. But if you wish to see just how big the ark was, how animals were fed etc, how God brought all the animals and birds to the ark. The original single landmass that both secular scientists and creationists believe existed back in the beginning would have had every animal kind populating the entire land mass, so there is no reason to believe that even the smallest or slowest of animals had to travel great distances.

  5. nikki says:

    but how did the plants get onto the ark, 2 of every animal that is alot to feed.. lke plants dont just grow on water.?

    • Tony Breeden says:

      seeds. it’s actually mentioned.

    • Tony Breeden says:

      As a point of note, seed would include grain as well.

    • John Mountford says:

      Many seeds in any case can survive in water and it must have happened because a dove sent out from the ark brought a small olive branch back. It is not likely that that Noah threw out seeds just randomly in the hope that once land was above water level that the seed would sprout. The ocean back then may only have been made up of mostly fresh water because even today the salt level in sea water is increasing

  6. Michael Lynch says:

    All proven methods have shown it is impossible to build a superstruture of a vessel that big without using steel. It would not support the weight it would snap like a twig. how do you explain that.

  7. Carrie says:

    Praise God for your faithfulness in sharing truth Tony. “My advice to any scientist would be to make sure that his findings co-inside with God’s word…this is, if he wants to be a good scientist since science and scientific findings do not make statements true, Scripture however is always true + never needs verification….Scientific support of the scripture only means that the science is true as we know scripture already is.

    • Oh really? Scripture is true? Feel free to live your life according to the following and also observe some of the lies and flat out craziness:
      Psalm 137:7
      1 Samuel 15:3
      Leviticus 20:9
      Deuteronomy 21:18-21
      Mark 7:9
      Romans 13:1-7
      Exodus 31:15
      Numbers 15:32
      Mark 16:16
      Deuteronomy 21:1 5
      Matthew 23:36
      Matthew 16:28
      1 John 2:18
      1 Cor. 14:34
      1 Tim. 2:9-14

      A gay boy who prefers to live a happy life on my own terms 🙂

      • Tony Breeden says:

        I’m sure that you are aware that simply citing verse without demonstrating what you think makes them “crazy” does not constiture a valid objection.

  8. gp says:

    Some comments:
    1) Can’t seem to find a scripture stating the animals were full sized adults – younger animals eat less, take up less room, need less water, leave smaller messes if you know what I mean.
    2) Can’t seem to find a scripture stating the ark ever had a rain drop hit it – seems it only needed to float on water flowing to it from around the world.
    3) Can’t seem to find a scripture stating there were WAVES to contend with – seems like the Lord needed to cause a wind to blow – rather than the wind continued to blow after the rain. If Jesus calmed the wind – holding off the wind for Noah was easy. God had a vested interest in the ark and its passengers surviving the ‘adventure’.
    4) Can’t seem to find a verse stating Noah didn’t have helpers/workers when building the ark.

    • Tony Breeden says:

      While I appreciate your comments, it must be said that the absence of a specific text is not proof of the absence of the event.

      #1 is generally agreed upon as a good possibility.
      #2 seems unlikely since if it rained enough to cover the whole earth and the Ark was built here, the rain would have hit it; hence the need for the Ark’s covering.
      #3 seems improbable since [a] a tranquil flood would be inadequate to produce the geological features we see today and [b] that much water being caused by both rainfall and the fountains of the great deep breaking up would certainly create waves; however, studies on the Ark’s design have made it certain that the Ark could have withstood extremely high waves.
      #4 It is possible that Noah had helpers or hired workers. It is also possible that he and his sons completed it in the enormous amount of time God gave Noah: well over 100 years!

      Thanks again for your comments,

  9. Isaac Healey says:

    How was there enough food to last 150 days and supply millions of animals and also have a boat big enough? I’m not against anything the bible says or god says I’m trying to get a point over to my dad that will convince him.

    • Tony Breeden says:

      Glad you asked.

      1. Creationist estimates of the number of animal genera (including now-extinct animals) represented in the Ark at about 8,000 – not millions. The misunderstanding comes from equating a biblical “kind” with a species. The terms are not equivalent. A kind falls more or less at the family level of classification. The Bible also limits which types of animals to air-breathing land animals, fowl and creeping things. More information is available in this article:

      2. If this estimate is correct, the animals would have taken up only 1/3rd of the available space, meaning 2/3rds of the Ark were available for food storage and living space. For more on how they fed the animals, see the following:

      Hope that helps. ;]

      • Rudy Faber says:

        8000 doesn’t nearly cover it if it would be just two of every species of which all subspecies alive today evolved from. There’s an estimate of about 6,5 million terrestrial species on earth. This excludes extinct species like dinosaurs. So even if we say there would be two of each family class on board (of which species evolved), a figure in the hundred thousands would be a very low estimate.

      • Tony Breeden says:

        8000 animals is Dr. John Woodmorappe’s estimate from his book, Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study. I suggest you refer to it for specifics; however, I will say this [again] for folks who’ve objected to Noah’s Ark without bothering to understand what creationists are actually saying [even though we say this over and over on every major creationist site]: The Bible says that Only air-breathing land animals and flying creatures were taken aboard the Ark, NOT every created kind.

  10. Galatians2:20 says:

    It is not impossible for God to provide foods for all the animals in the ark. Remember how the Lord made a miracle feedig 500 people by just one five load of bread and two fish.Matthew 14:1522
    New International Version (NIV)
    15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
    16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
    17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
    18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

    Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish (John 21 (New International Version)

    21 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.[a] It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus[b]), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
    4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
    5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
    “No,” they answered.
    6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
    7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[c] 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
    10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

  11. Mathew Ridyard says:

    Good luck Noah and family in explaining to the lions and tigers that the arc was designed to save all the animals from extinction and not an all you can eat buffet.

  12. Neil says:

    There are so many problems with the flood story but they are all solved with divine intervention.
    Q: How did Noah gather samples of every species on the earth in one location?
    A: God made them come to him
    Q: How could Noah feed all those animals for well over a year? He had no refrigeration to preserve fresh food. The quantities needed just to feed 2 elephants for a year would have taken the space of a couple of houses.
    A: There is no problem with feeding them. God can make them eat dirt if he wants to, or nothing at all. He could make one apple feed the entire ship indefinitely. He could stop the animals from reproducing. He could make the food not spoil. He could even warp time so that 360 days was really only one day. With divine intervention there is NO argument that cannot be overcome.
    Q: How could such a massive structure built from wood and loaded to the hilt with animals and food hold up for almost a year on rolling rocking seas?
    A: God made it hold together
    Q: Why would the ark not float thousands of miles from it’s starting point?
    A: God made it land on Ararat.

    It goes on and on. The story is not based on reason or science. For all we know there really is a Santa Clause, why not?

    • Tony Breeden says:

      The Bible is supernaturally authenticated by fulfilled prophecy and the Resurrection of Christ. I was not aware that Clement Clark Moore’s poem enjoyed that level of authentication.

      As for reason, I guess you have no respect for your evolutionary forebears. By this is meant proponents of evolution from days gone by. Are you familiar with Thomas Huxley? They called him Darwin’s Bulldog. This man, the very one who coined the term agnostic said that, given a Deity, the creation account was perfectly reasonable. You see, supernatural intervention is perfectly rational if the supernatural exists and, well, there’s that whole fulfilled prophecy thing…

  13. Eric says:

    You said all animals were vegetarian? If you believe in an intelligent designer, it is clearly evident predators like lions were always carnivores!

    Ask yourself why animals have defense mechanisms like venom for example, when there was no threat of being eaten? Why is a cheetah fast? Why do alligators have insanely powerful jaws? The examples are endless proving God created meat-eaters.

    • Tony Breeden says:

      Actually, it is evident that the lion and cheetah, which speciated from a Noachian big cat kind, are adapted to living in a post-Flood Fallen world today. If we look to dogs, which all descended from a wolf, we see that created kinds were designed with a lot of potential variability. Creationists see natural selection as a preservative force working against the negative effects of the Fall. Defense mechanisms were likewise programmed in, if you will, to the original created kinds’ genetic potential.

      Hope that helps,

  14. Joel C. says:

    In Genesis 6, we learn that God gave Noah the plans to build the ark. No matter if you believe it or think it is a fairy tale, that’s where the scripture is found in the Bible. I get the impression Noah was sort of downloaded the plans to build the ark by God. Now at this point you can believe it or do the Bill Cosby Riiiiight thing. But here is what tips it for me. Nikola Tesla said multiple times he just saw these plans in front of him to build things. Radio, A/C electricity and countless other schematics according to Tesla just kind of appeared in front of him and he just built what he saw. So, while both stories seem far fetched to me at first glance, Tesla was recorded multiple times in his life time in the late 1800s and early 1900s as saying I just kind of saw the plans in front of me. The reason we don’t hear about Tesla more these days is that many people of his time thought he was crazy. But, since we have radio and A/C power and all of the other things Tesla just sort of saw in front of him as second nature in today’s world, I have to think maybe God did with Noah as He did with Tesla. By the way, Tesla said he thought the plans came from a divine source.

    This type of method of communication with us would also be in line with the way the God of the Bible does it. He uses some Old testament story to point to New Testament activity.

  15. Rudy Faber says:

    So here’s a question: Did it carry all subspecies and subspecies of subspecies? Let’s take a small example: Felidae, the family class of cats. We have Lions, Jaguars, Leopards, Tigers, Cheetahs, Pumas, Lynxes, Servals, domestic cats etc. These are just a few of the species within this family class. Now let’s have a look at the largest subspecies: Panthera Tigris, commonly known as Tiger. This family consists of the: Bengal Tiger, Sumatran Tiger, Amaru (or Siberian) Tiger, Indo-Chinese Tiger, Malayan Tiger, South Chinese Tiger, Bali Tiger, Caspian Tiger and Java Tiger. They might be able (I’m not sure) to produce fertile offspring when interbreeding, but they ALL are subspecies and most definitely NOT as closely related to each other as say a Chihuahua to a German Sheppard. So did the Ark carry all these subspecies (I haven’t even touched subspecies of the other cat species yet) or are they the result of evolution?…
    Now let’s look at: Canidae, the family class of dogs…nevermind.

    As for diet, you say to suspect that all food that was eaten to be plants. Cats are 100% carnivores. Not even are they not able to get their necessary nutrition from plants, they get sick and eventually die of it. Their metabolism simply isn’t able to process a vegetarian diet. So did God change their metabolism for this event and change it back afterwards, or did the Ark carry enough dry meats and fish to sustain this large group of carnivores (I’ve only touched cats mind you…)

    Asian Elephants are not the same species as African Elephants by the way. The genetic differences between the two are that great that they cannot be interbred. The Ark would’ve carried at least four Elephants if evolution is out of the question. It’s quite logical to say the same principle would hold truth for Dinosaurs, because this principle holds true for animals that are alive today. That would mean a whole lot of incredibly large Sauropods alone on that boat. A Brachiosaurus measuring 23 meters had a weight of 30 tons. Then you also had Brontosaurus, Plateosaurus etc. Just for the fun of it; look up the many family classes of Sauropods that are identified. They all consisted of many subspecies, just as explained above using tigers. Then we had species like Ceratopia (of which Triceratops is the best known subspecies), Stegosauria (Stegosaurus the best known), Coelurosaurian Theropod (the genus in which Tyrannosaurus belongs) and the list goes on. You won’t believe the staggering amount of species that belonged to the overarching clade of Dinosauria. Think of the amount of all terrestrial animal species that are alive today, but as Dinosaurs alone.

    Anyway, that’s a whole lot of animals to fit on a relatively small wooden boat. One that was significantly smaller than many large ocean liners today.

  16. MDPD says:

    I have a different far more feasible theory.. Fish… For those animals that needed meat/protein diets exclusively. I think that large abundant amounts of fish, crabs, and mollusks were made available to Noah by God. Feeding omnivores and vegetarians are one thing. Feeding strict carnivores is another. I HONESTLY think that this is a much more sensible answer.

  17. Jean H. says:

    If I am remembering correctly, meat was not eaten before the flood? I think it was only after the flood that meat was eaten. Does not Genesis state that the herbs of the field were for food? If so, then hay (dried grass) would have been one thing that was stored. There are many things in the bible that we miss and overlook because of the viewpoints that we have in todays world and because we are blind to the truth. Please do not limit yourself to your own understanding. None of us can understand the things in the bible and the things of God unless God gives us that understanding. It is easy for us to go by our own understanding. We are wasting precious time trying to figure things out on our own. One day we will be face to face with death. It will be a terrifying moment. If nothing happens after we die – – – no worries – – – but, if there is a God . . . There will be lots to be concerned about. Because after we die there is no more chances to look up at the sky and pray to the LORD of LORDS and King of Kings. Your chances are in the here and now and only in the hear and now. Today time is on your side. Tomorrow, that might not be true.
    You have much to gain and nothing to lose by seeking your Creator. Seek Him while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. JH

    • Tony Breeden says:

      The reason I and most major creationist ministries state that carnivory occurred before the Flood is because most of the fossil record is supposed to be a result of the Flood; therefore, since we have evidence of animals eating one another in the fossil record, we deduce that while God did not allow man to eat meat until after the Flood, the effects of the Fall including death, struggle, carnivory, parasitism, etc were already in effect prior to the Flood.

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