Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | March 30, 2022

Life on Noah’s Ark

(4 Minute Read. 30Mar2022)

Have you ever wondered what life was like on the Ark during the year-long Great Flood of Noah’s day?

It rained for 40 straight days and nights without letup, continually pounding on the roof and sides of the Ark. Bobbing and tossing violently, the Ark was the original survival capsule as the fountains of the great deep broke open and spewed forth vast amounts of subterranean water. For five months huge waves buffeted the Ark as the waters of Noah’s Flood churned and swirled around the Ark.

What was it like to be on the Ark throughout this storm? What occupied Noah and his family?

The Bible does not include many details about life on the Ark during the Flood, so most of what follows is educated guesswork and reasoned speculation.


Noah’s floating zoo required a great deal of tending, and this labor likely kept Noah’s family far from boredom. We can get an idea of the amount of work involved by looking at big zoos today.

The San Diego Zoo in California is one of the best and most visited zoos in the world. It has about 12,000 animals and employs 1500 staff. Estimating that about 500 of the San Diego Zoo’s staff are needed to manage the zoo’s visitors, which Noah’s Zoo did not have, that leaves 1,000 staff to care for 12,000 animals in San Diego.

I calculated the number of animals on Noah’s Ark to be about 6,000 animals in Could Noah Fit All the Animals on the Ark? Thus using the San Diego Zoo’s ratio of staff to animals, today a work force of about 500 would be hired to care for Noah’s Zoo of 6,000 animals. Therefore, it is safe to assume that Noah’s crew of eight had their hands full caring for all the animals throughout the voyage.

Possibly God may have caused many of the animals either to hibernate or to enter a low-metabolic state. This would have significantly reduced Noah’s zoo chores.

Most of the family’s time was likely taken up with maintaining and operating the systems Noah had designed and built to disburse food and water to the animals. To feed and water the animals probably took several people several hours each morning and evening, even with semi-automated systems Noah may have installed.

Likewise the system for the removal and processing of animal wastes needed daily efforts. Noah would have invented or adapted a composting system to biodegrade waste and neutralize odors. Periodic cleaning of all the animal stalls and cages needed time.

Part of the Ark’s water needs were probably met with rainwater. Someone was likely responsible for collecting and filtering water for human and animal use. Bamboo pipes and simple valves could funnel rainwater into on-board cisterns and disperse the water for needs throughout the Ark. This would require oversight, repairs, and maintenance.

Some of the larger animals would need time daily to stretch and exercise. Managing the exercise rotation would involve significant effort by some of Noah’s family.

I wonder if some of the animals were a royal pain and got on everyone’s nerves. The mischievous monkeys may have been particularly irritating. I wonder if Noah was tempted to build a miniature ark and ship the monkeys off on their own. Or maybe he would have wanted to ship off the cheetahs since he couldn’t trust the cheetah.

In a storm as long and as violent as Noah’s Flood, the Ark would probably have incurred some damage. Fixing leaks and making repairs would occupy some of the family.

Noah probably took a large store of plants, seeds, fruit, and nuts for food for himself and the animals. Noah may have brought bees along so that he could get honey from the archives. And it’s likely he grew some food on board the Ark.

Noah may have had a large garden on the upper deck with sunlight coming from the window at the top of the Ark (Genesis 6:16). Noah and his family were vegetarians since prior to the Flood God had only given green plants, seed-bearing plants, and seed-bearing fruit for food (Genesis 1:29-30). It was only after the Flood that God gave permission to eat meat (Genesis 9:2-4). Part of the upper deck under the long window may have been a vast greenhouse for growing vegetables as well as drying and preserving them.

Some people might think Noah would have had plenty of time to go fishing with his sons, Japheth, Shem, and Ham, to supplement their diet. But this is incorrect for two reasons. First, they did not yet eat fish. Second, Noah couldn’t afford to use his only two worms for bait.

Someone had to be responsible for obtaining food from the stores and garden and preparing meals. But tasty slumgullion would have to wait till after disembarking. Milk and crackers was likely a popular snack on the Ark. Noah could get milk from the cows and quackers from the ducks.

And someone had to be responsible for human housekeeping needs.


We don’t know what Noah and his family did on the Ark for relaxation and amusement. But since there was a Ham on board, there was probably plenty of clowning and entertainment throughout the entire trip.

Musical instruments had been invented before the Flood (Genesis 4:21), so it is likely some of the clan played music.

Activities like sewing, woodworking, and maybe even metalworking (Genesis 4:22) would surely have been enjoyed on the Ark.

One thing we do know is that they did not play cards on the Ark — because Noah was standing on the deck.


God described Noah as a righteous man, blameless in his time who walked with God (Genesis 6:9). The Apostle Peter called Noah a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5).

Therefore I think it is likely that Noah’s family spent time on the Ark in worship, prayer, and “Bible reading.” Now Noah did not have the Bible we have today, but he had what makes up the first five chapters of Genesis. He took on the Ark with him the records begun by Adam (Genesis 5:1) and handed down through the patriarchs. It was these records which Moses used to compile Genesis.

Noah and his family surely sought the wisdom of God through prayer as they faced many challenges on the Ark and put their trust in the Great Creator for all the unknowns ahead.

Questions to Ponder

1. If you had been a passenger on Noah’s Ark, what jobs would you have volunteered to do?
2. If you had been a passenger on Noah’s Ark, what would have been your entertainment choices?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

This is the 10th in a series of articles on Noah. This Noah Series will suggest answers to many of the questions believers and skeptics have about Noah, Noah’s Ark, and Noah’s Flood.
Read the prequels:
1. Think You Know Noah?
2. Did Jesus Think Noah Was Real?
3. How Long Did It Take Noah to Build the Ark?
4. Could Noah Build the Ark in 75 Years?
5. How Big Was Noah’s Ark?
6. Were Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark?
7. Could Noah Fit All the Animals on the Ark?
8. What Was Noah’s Flood Like?
9. Was Noah’s Flood Global or Local?

Read the sequel:
11. Were Zebras on Noah’s Ark?

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday March 30, 2022 A.D.

Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.
(Genesis 6:13-17)

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  1. Good stuff Bible-Science Guy!


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