Some animals have short natural lifespans, of less than a year. Given that they were prohibited from reproduction (see Rashi here), how did they survive in Noah's ark?

These are mainly insects, such as mayflies, houseflies, and dragonflies.

  • 1
    Did Noach bring insects onto the teivah as animals or as food?
    – DonielF
    Oct 17, 2018 at 12:09

2 Answers 2


The lifespan of humans of the flood generation was a century long. Why would this not also be true for animals?

It was only after the flood, and countless disappointments from humans towards G-d, that He reduced the natural lifespan of men from centuries to decades. Animals exist for the purpose of serving men. Hence I guess their lifespan also got drastically reduced.


We can see from the ages given for Noach and Shem that the year of the flood did not count. For example, Noach lived 600 years before the flood and 350 years after the flood and died at the age of 950, not 951. Since the entire period of the flood was a miracle (since there should not have been room for enough food in the teivah) then it was as if aging was suspended and they resumed their lives and started aging after the flood.

Noach 7:6

And Noah was six hundred years old, and the flood came about, water upon the earth.

Noach 9:28-29

  1. And Noah lived after the Flood, three hundred and fifty years.

  2. And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died.

We see from Noach 6:21 and the medrash that Noach had to feed the animals and take care of their waste products. We also see from Rashi that none of the animals reproduced while they were in the teivah. This means that the animals that entered the teivah were the same ones that left no matter what the normal life span may have been (including those whose normal lifespan would have made them too old to reproduce after a full solar year.

Noach 8:17

and they shall swarm upon the earth: But not in the ark. This tells us that even the animals and the fowl were prohibited from mating. — [from Gen. Rabbah ad loc.]

  • 4
    Do you have a traditional Jewish basis for claiming this is the answer to his question?
    – Double AA
    Oct 17, 2018 at 11:37
  • I think that ALL the questions ask about a NATURAL way of things. It is meaningless to ascribe everything to miracles, esp. when the Torah does not mention that explicitly.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 17, 2018 at 21:42
  • If they were "suspended" why did they eat?
    – Al Berko
    Oct 17, 2018 at 21:43
  • I did not say that they were suspended. Indeed, the medrash says that Noach had to spend his time feeding and cleaning up. I said that the inhabitants of the Ark did not age while they were there. This medrash implies that except for that they did continue living as normal. @AlBerko Oct 17, 2018 at 22:52
  • I used the implication of the fact that the age of Noach (and Shem) as given in the Torah does not include the year of the Mabul. I also used the fact that the Rashi states that none on the animals on the teivah produced offspring during that year. @DoubleAA Oct 17, 2018 at 23:21

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