Monday, April 9, 2012

Noah's Ark Par III Care of the Animals

Hello my friends! What a beautiful day we have today. I wonder…after the waters from the deluge covered the earth, and before dry land appeared, was it bright and shiny outside, like it is here today, or cloudy? I guess that is another question that will have to wait until I get to heaven!

What we do know is, regardless of the weather outside, the animals had to be cared for inside. Now, we have already established the numbers of critters is much less than originally thought because only two of every kind (and seven of the livestock), were brought aboard (see Noah’s Ark Part I blog). And, most likely the animals were in a hibernation/estivation state, making for less feeding – and cleaning up – (see Noah’s Ark Part II blog).

Interestingly enough, there have been studies of this very subject, resulting in an outcome that eight people would have the ability to care for 16,000 animals (it is much more likely there were many fewer animals on the ark). But let’s just say there were 16,000 animals on board. Having worked at two different zoos, I cringed when I read this. That is 2,000 creatures for each person to care for – every day! It seems impossible.

Ah-h, but here are some factors to consider:

Number one. You must keep in mind, this was not a long term situation. Comfort, certainly, and top condition (to a lesser degree) were not essential.  This was continued existence in an emergency circumstance during one taxing year –survival would have been the primary goal.

Number two. An essential factor would have been the way the ark was constructed. Most likely it was built with care of the animals in mind. For example, it would have been prudent to leave room between pens or grouping of pens for food and water storage. “Even better, drinking water could have been piped into troughs, just as the Chinese have used bamboo pipes for this purpose for thousands of years. The use of some sort of self-feeders, as is commonly done for birds, would have been relatively easy and probably essential.”[1]

Construction with animal excretion in mind would have also been crucial.  The key factor in maintaining clean pens would be in the way they were put together. The right systems could have allowed waste to accumulate below, just as we see in modern pet shops. Slatted or wooden mesh floors where the animals could have trampled their waste to the pits below would reduce cleaning of individual pens from an every day occurrence. Birds and other small animals could have multi level cages, the waste simply gathering at the bottom of each. For larger animals, sloped floors would allow waste to flow into large central channels, making it easier for Noah’s family to gather and dump overboard.

The animals could have gotten enough air, even at the bottom of the boat by a basic, non-mechanical ventilation system. “The density of animals on the Ark, compared to the volume of enclosed space, was much less than we find in some modern, mass animal housing used to keep stock raised for food (such as chicken farms), which requires no special mechanical ventilation.”2
The bible indicates there was a window along the top center section of the ark. Air convective movement, “driven by temperature differences between the warm-blooded animals and the cold interior surfaces, would have been significant enough to drive the flow of air.” Additionally air would have circulated from wind blowing into the window, and/or been provided by wave motion (such as in a moon pool [a large hole and supporting column where water could move up and down – also makes a convenient place to dump wastes]) and/or fire thermal. If more ventilation was deemed necessary, a few animals could have taken turns exercising by being harnessed to slow-moving rotary fans. 

Thus there is no reason to believe that levels of toxic or explosive manure gases, such as methane, would have become hazardous on the Ark. The constant movement of the vessel would have alleviated this danger because the ventilation would allow manure gases to be continuously released. In any case, methane is only half the density of air. It would rise quickly to the center windows along the top of the ark.
“While the voyage of the Ark may not have been comfortable or easy, it was certainly doable, even under such unprecedented circumstances.”3

When we look around today and see so much wonderful variety in the animal kingdom, we know that however the animals survived, it worked. It is another reassuring testimony of God’s tender mercy and provision for his beloved.

So, my beloved, have a wonderful week!


[1] 2, 3

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