Were the Animals on Noah’s Ark Vegetarians?

After Noach was told to bring his family and the animals onto the ark, he was commanded to bring food as well.


In Parshat Noach, Breisheet 6:21, God commanded Noach: “You shall take for yourself from all of the foods that are eaten and gather it to yourself, and it will be food for you and for them.”


According to Radak, Rabbi David Kimchi 1160-1235 (Breisheet 1:25, 6:21), all of the animals were vegetarians immediately after the world was created as well as when they were on the ark. The food that was brought onto the ark was a combination of fruits, nuts and vegetation.


Radak explains: In the beginning of creation, if the lion had eaten the lamb and if the tiger had eaten the goat, the divine order of creation would have been destroyed. What did the lion or the other carnivorous animals eat? If they had consumed the flesh of other animals and beasts, the world would have lacked that species; for they were created male and female, not more, and they did not wait to eat until their prey had offspring. Surely they consumed the green herbs of the field until their prey mated and increased. From then on, their nature was carnivorous. Similarly, in Noah’s ark, if they had eaten their prey, that species would have been lacking in the world (since they entered the ark in pairs, not more, except for the “clean” species, which entered in pairs of seven).


In the story of the Creation of  the world, Breisheet 1:30 we read: “And for every animal of the earth, for every bird of the heaven, and for everything that creeps on the ground, in which there is a living spirit, every green herb shall be their food. And it was so.”


Radak states that we learn from here that God gave all of the green herbs to both the herbivorous as well as the carnivorous animals. At times when the carnivorous animals didn’t have access to meat, they were still able to survive.


The answer to our question is yes. Only vegetarian meals were served on the ark.