Bible Animal Trivia for the Whole Family

A few years ago, as I read through the Bible, I discovered some interesting animal facts that I’d never noticed before. Do you know, for example, which animals were present when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness? We all know Satan was there to tempt Jesus, and you might know that angels were there to comfort him. But Mark adds a twist to his gospel by including animals in his description.

“The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.”

Mark 1:12–13

So, what were the wild animals in Jesus’s day? Try to make your own list, then read on. While not all the animals alive in Jesus’s day still roam the Judean wilderness, here is a list of the animals that lived in those barren lands when Jesus was there. Look them up online and discover a few fantastic animals you may not have even known existed—Mesopotamian fallow deer, jerboa, hyrax, Arabian ostrich, Asiatic lion, and Syrian brown bear.

Now, onto another Bible animal story—Noah’s ark. Now we know that God called Noah to build an ark and take aboard two of every living animal, one male and one female, into the ark (Genesis 7:19–20). But did you know which animals God told Noah to bring fourteen of each kind into the ark?

“Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth.”

Genesis 7:2–3

So, what were the clean animals? They were the livestock like sheep, goats, and oxen that Noah and his family would eat for food and use for offerings. Also, Noah brought seven pairs of the birds. So, when you draw a picture of Noah’s Ark, you should have a lot of birds flying around it in the sky!

But the kinds of animals taken into the ark is not my favorite animal trivia from the flood account. My favorite bit of animal trivia in the Bible comes at the end of the flood when God puts his rainbow in the sky. We all know that when God put the rainbow in the sky, he made a covenant with Noah never to destroy the earth by flood. But did you know that promise was for the animals, too? God promised the animals seven times that he would never again destroy every living creature. Take a look at God’s promise to the animals. I’ve underlined those parts below.

“I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

Genesis 8:21–22

God goes on to repeat that promise again and again in Genesis 9 as he promises a rainbow:

When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Genesis 9:9–17

In the letter to Roman Christians, the apostle Paul encouraged believers to find their hope amid suffering in the second coming of Christ and their final redemption. But he also mentioned all creation—which includes the animals. When Adam sinned, death and thorns were introduced to the world. But one day, when the earth will be made new, death will be banished. On that day, we are told, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6). Can you imagine a young child leading a wolf and a leopard! While we long for the day when we see Jesus face to face, so do the animals long for the peace of the earth to be restored.

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

Romans 8:19–22

When Jesus returns, he will “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). I take Jesus at his word. We will get resurrected bodies. The earth, with its mountains and valleys, will be made new. An Eden-like garden will be restored with a new tree of life (Revelation 22:1-2). And if Isaiah’s prophecy is correct, a new creation full of animals that give glory to our creative God and are gentle toward man. Imagine running your hand through a lion’s mane without fear or walking with a leopard—all to bring glory to God!

I’ll leave you with one more Bible animal trivia question to answer. What animal did God tell Moses would signal that the angel of death passed over the homes of all Israel? (Go to Exodus chapter 11 for the answer.)


The Shadow and the Promise

The Shadow and the Promise follows the adventures of the animals who witness the events of Genesis and Exodus unfold before them. Join badgers in the Garden of Eden, an array of animals in the Ark, groundhogs at Babel, Abraham’s donkey, sheep from Joseph’s herd, the cats in the palace in Egypt, and a dog and oxen present at the Passover. 

About the author

Marty Machowski

Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA, where he has served on the pastoral staff for over thirty years. He is the author of a number of family devotionals, curricula (including the Gospel Story for Kids), children’s books, and parenting titles. He and his wife, Lois, have six children and several grandchildren, and reside in West Chester, PA.

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