What about the species procreating after Noah's Ark?

by Helen Fryman

Question: What about the species procreating after Noah's Ark? Wouldn't it be impossible for carnivores to survive and not kill off countless numbers of species? Correct me if I'm wrong, but there were only two of each animal and if one dies, the species dies.

Response: I had a gopher snake once. We used to buy feeder mice for it.  One spring "Charlie" became interested in....uh....things other than food.  Now, when you buy "feeder mice" at the pet store, you don't pay much attention to the sex, since they aren't long for this world anyway (I never could watch Charlie have a meal). So I put the mice in with Charlie for his once a week feeding and checked an hour or so later. The mice were still running around and Charlie could not have cared less.

So I put the mice in a small cage. A week later, Charlie was still not interested. Two months went by. I had 32 mice. At the risk of being arrested by the SPCA or such (actually this was about 20 years ago so the time limit has run out on cruelty to animals, I think), we finally stuffed Charlie down a gopher hole on the hill (he was about four feet long at the time) and wished him luck. Never mind what happened to the 32 mice. Noah was on the Ark for a year. I can guarantee that rodents don't care if it is light or dark when they mate. After what 32 mice smelled like, I bet Noah's wife did not walk off that Ark, she ran off. Believe me, there was plenty for the carnivores to eat. Rabbits are known for their breeding habits!

However, a bit more theologically, there is something else to consider. Genesis 1:30 seems to indicate there was no meat-eating among land animals before the Flood, only after. So before the Flood there must have been some variety or varieties of plant life which provided the protein and amino acids which carnivores now depend on other animals' flesh to provide in sufficient amounts. Noah would have packed this on the Ark for food, as God commanded (Gen. 6:21). Once off the Ark, the deer and other grazing animals would have been delighted with the newly grassed lands (remember, Noah did not disembark until an olive shoot had sprouted and a leaf had been brought back; there would have been more than enough time for grass to grow if a young olive tree had already started), and would have spread out rapidly.

The carnivores-to-be, however, would have hung around for the last of the only food that seemed palatable to them, thus giving all the other animals a good head start.  Keep in mind as well that the clean animals, which were taken on the ark by sevens (one for sacrifice and three pairs) were mostly grazing animals. This means that the deer, cattle, and other grazers had a bit of a head start that way, too.

Genesis 9:2 tells us that once off the ark, God told Noah that -- contrary to life before the flood -- the "fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands." If this had not been the case, then as the carnivores ran out of food, there is a reasonable chance that people would have been the first victims, as they were now the closest. Would animals change that quickly to meat ingestion from being herbivorous? Yes. I recall the case in the news not long ago of a sheep in a Muslim country that started going after the farmer's chickens and eating them. The sheep did fine. The owner, being a Muslim, was evidently quite disturbed. That was one sheep that was now not permissible to eat! What to do with it? Another example is twelve mice (I never learn...) my daughter bought for a science experiment with different kinds of cereals a couple of years ago.

The sugared cereals were so poor in useable nutrition that the mice began eating each other. It was pretty gross. We stopped that part of the experiment rather quickly.

At any rate, it is possible that the switch from herbivore to carnivore was made a little more slowly than sometimes thought. First, the food stored on the ark would have been finished off, and then the animals would have roamed off looking for food. By that time the grazing animals were not that easily accessible, having followed the grasslands down the mountains, and the rodents had already taken care of their part in the food chain!


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.