How many animals were on the Ark (an estimated number)?

As a born-again Christian, I have always enjoyed reading the Bible and exploring different bible
stories. I find the story of Noah and his construction of the Ark quite interesting. I have always
been curious to know how Noah made different kinds of animals enter the Ark. How many
animals were on the Ark?

The Bible does not give a specific number. However, many scholars believe that the number could be between 1300 and 1500 creatures of the same kind. Genesis 6:19–20 says that you must bring two of all living creatures, male and female, into the Ark to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, animal, and creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. Kind referred to animals from the same family classification; thus, the estimated number of animals in the Ark is about 7000.

In this article, I will share my knowledge on how many animals were on the Ark. Join me as we
delve more into the topic of Noah’s Ark and learn if the Ark was large enough to carry all the
animals. Read on!

How did God instruct Noah to choose the animals that would go on the Ark?

According to the scripture, God gave Noah two sets of instructions to guide him when choosing the animals that would go on the Ark. The first instruction is found in Genesis 6:19–20. 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.

Additionally, Noah was instructed in Genesis 7:2-3 to take with him seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.

God told Noah to select the animals to go into the Ark based on family classification, gender (male or female), clean animals (Live on land, have a divided hoof, and often chew cud), and unclean animals (do not have a split hoof, live on land and do not chew cud). This ensured that all groups of land animals on the earth’s surface at the time got into the Ark.

Number of animals in the Ark
Does the Bible specify how many animals God brought on the Ark? See below

Does the Bible specify how many animals God brought on the Ark?

The Bible does not give an exact number. However, we are told in the book of Genesis, as in the scriptures already quoted in the article, that God instructed Noah to bring a pair of unclean animals, seven clean animals, and seven birds.

Scientists speculate that since the animals were selected based on their kind, it could mean that kind stood for family classification of the animals, which is a more reasonable way to select the animals for them to fit in the Ark and to meet the required threshold. Scientists believe that there are approximately 1,500 classifications of animals. This implies that the approximate number of animals on the Ark was around 7,000 animals of different kinds.

However, the exact number is not mentioned anywhere in the scripture; these are just theoretical assumptions.

Were there some species of animals that were not on the Ark?

The instructions given to Noah were very clear about the animals to be brought into the Ark. However, there is no mention of fish or other aquatic creatures. The category of clean and unclean animals given consists of animals that lived on land. When we look at fish and aquatic organisms, we realize that they live in water. God did not give Noah any instructions about sea and water animals. It is not documented in the scripture. Theologians assume that these might be some of the animals left out of the Ark.

Amphibians such as frogs and toads were also not considered in the count according to the instructions that God had laid out for Noah, and it is thus speculated that they were also part of the species of animals that did not make it into the Ark.

An estimate of the number of animals in Noah’s Ark

According to the taxonomical way that the animals were selected, a rough estimate goes up to about 7,000 animals from different kinds or families. These animals were selected based on their gender and whether they were clean or unclean. God had also instructed Noah only to bring animals that lived on land. Authors like Henry Morris have written that the Ark had approximately 75,000 animals drawn from 18,000 different species. This is, however, not written anywhere in the Bible.

Was the Ark spacious enough to carry all the animals?

The Ark and its designs resemble what we could consider a battleship today. Battleships are enormous as they are expected to carry a lot of weaponry and supplies for soldiers during the war. The Ark, in the way it was constructed, was a vast, stable, waterproof vessel that could comfortably fit all animals, along with the required food supply to sustain them for almost one year that they were to spend in the Ark waiting for the floods to recede.

In Genesis 6:14–16, God tells Noah, “Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it, and coat it with pitch inside and out.” This is how you are to build it: The Ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the Ark and make a lower, middle, and upper deck.

This was a colossal vessel meant to carry many things and would be about 45 feet high, 75 feet wide, and around 450 feet long, which can also be interpreted as 14 meters high, 23 meters wide, and 135 meters long. The animals in the Ark are assumed to have been around 75,000. The size of the Ark, as per God’s instructions, would have fit all the animals perfectly, as the total deck area alone was approximately 97,500 square feet.

How did Noah get all the animals into the Ark from across the earth?

Noah was one man doing several things at once without the support of many. It seems impossible that he even had the time to move around collecting different kinds of animals that he would have with him in the Ark. The Bible says in Genesis 7:8–9 that pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds, and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the Ark, as God had commanded Noah.

The Bible says that the animals went into the Ark as God had commanded Noah. It is speculated by many scholars that Noah might have had angelic help and that God Himself helped in summoning animals of different kinds and species from all over the world to assemble at Noah’s Ark. This is so because the time between when the flood would begin and Noah’s completion of the Ark to make it fit to survive the flood was very limited. Noah did not have the support of other people; he only had his family, who would not have been sufficient to bring together all the animals from different parts of the world.

How many animals were on the Ark?
How did Noah and the animals inside the Ark breathe? See below

How did Noah and the animals inside the Ark breathe?

The Ark was a replica of the ships we have today. As much as all the windows were closed, it was not airtight like a submerged submarine. So the animals and Noah, together with his family, could breathe. The Ark was floating on the water that had filled the earth, covering even the highest mountains. This is captured in Genesis 7:18–19, which says, “The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water.” They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered.

How did Noah look after all the animals?

We can agree that feeding this many animals was not easy for Noah and his family. Scholars assume that there might have been supernatural help from God when feeding and caring for the animals were involved. Others believe that the way the Ark was designed and the basic requirements the animals needed were placed right by them, and there was no need for Noah and his family members to make countless rounds trying to feed and care for the animals; it might have been a one-time thing to ensure the animals were alive and doing well.

How did Noah dispose of all the animal waste?

The Ark had three decks, and many scholars believe that the way it was built allowed the animals to push all waste to the bottom deck by themselves. It is also assumed that the flooring in the Ark allowed the animals to trample over their waste until it disappeared into the flooring on its own.

What makes some animals clean and others unclean?

The scriptures in the book of Leviticus 11:1-47 gives the distinct features between clean and unclean animals. They are similar in that they live on land. However, clean animals have a divided hoof and often chew the cud, while unclean animals do not have a split hoof and do not chew the cud.

Are there animals in the Ark that died or got sick?

Even on earth, it is natural for animals to get sick or even die. There is no account of any of these in Noah’s ark voyage. All along, God was with Noah even during the flood, and it is assumed that because the animals in the Ark were being preserved for life after the floods, God protected them from any such occurrences as death or sickness that could get rid of them. Noah’s being in the Ark did not mean that God was absent. Most of the unexplainable happenings can be attributed to God’s supernatural hand in the running of the Ark.

Did all the animals outside the Ark perish?

Yes, all land animals that did not reach the Ark were blotted out and removed from the earth’s surface; they all died. The Bible does not mention anywhere that fish and aquatic sea animals got into the Ark. They could have easily survived because their natural environment is water. So even if the whole world was covered in water, these water animals could still have survived, as nowhere in the Bible is it recorded that Noah was told to build an aquarium within the Ark.

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