How Many Different Kinds of Animals Are There?

If Noah took a pair of every animal on earth aboard his ark, then that boat must have been big indeed! For the number of different kinds of animals, or species, is higher than you’d ever imagine.

The class of animals that human beings belong to, the mammals, includes close to 5,000 species. The number of birds is over 15,000. There are more than 3,000 kinds of snakes, and 300 kinds of turtles.

The mollusk family, which includes sea animals like the clam, has more than 100,000 members, while the lobster and crab family has over 20,000. There are some 15,000 species of protozoans, or one-celled animals, but the record for the number of different species is held by insects, with well over 750,000!

The best estimate is that there are at least three million different kinds of animals on earth!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

34 thoughts on “How Many Different Kinds of Animals Are There?”

  1. Kinds and species are very very different. If you are trying to prove the Bible inaccurate then you should really watch this video or just watch all of his videos at . Noah did not take every species he took ever KIND and he didn’t take full grown animals he didn’t take bugs and he didn’t take sea animals. He did however take dinosaurs.

  2. The ark has the same cargo capacity of a modern cargo ship. The ark had a volume of 1.4 million cubic feet and a gross tonnage of 14,000 tons. This is the equivalent of 522 railroad box cars. The ark could have carried over 125,000 SHEEP-SIZED animals. Interestingly, there are less than 23,300 species of LAND ANIMALS alive today. Not including the 750.000 insects… How many insects does it take to equal the size equivalent of a sheep? Also, the average size of most animals is less than that of a sheep.. so i think there would have been enough room. As for water going Animals like fish and whales…. Um, they swim. And the bible never said Moses had to bring them on the Ark, most likely for that fact.
    And You also have to take into consideration, The bible claims there to have only been one Land mass (Pangea) during this time before the flood. Genesis 1:9 hints toward that. Just thought i would throw that fact in before someone asks how Noah got all the animals from Australia…. AND the ark was built in a time frame of 120 years. Thats three times longer then it took to build the Egyption pyramids… So Noah did not need 30 years to get all the animals, he had 120.

    Anyways, have a nice day:p

  3. The bible also says that Noah and the animals spent a year on that boat. The bible states that Noah was to provide food for them. For example: that’s 365,000lbs of food for 2 elephants, 60,000lbs of food for 2 giraffes, 66,000lbs of food for 2 hippos, 16,000 pounds of meat (which would rot) for 2 lions, etc. Fitting just the animals on that boat was the least of Noah’s problem. He’d also need a really good pooper scooper. Oh, and let’s not forget the birds…


  4. The Bible states nothing about the age of the animals. Furthermore, it states that Noah took 2 every “air breathing” type of animal. The Bible states that the flood raised 20 feet above all the mountains under the heavens. That’s 20 feet above Mt. Everest, where there isn’t enough air or heat to survive; so, all the animals – and Noah – would’ve died.

  5. Mt. Everest would not have been the same height it is now back in Noah’s time. But even after all the facts and disagreements, it comes down to faith.

  6. Of the Bible’s Noah account The Bible states nothing about the age of the animals. Furthermore, it states that Noah took 2 every “air breathing” type of animal. The Bible states that the flood raised 20 feet above all the mountains under the heavens. That’s 20 feet above Mt. Everest, where there isn’t enough air or heat to survive; so, all the animals – and Noah – would’ve died.

  7. well see thats where youre wrong if water is taking up space thereby it is pushing the atmosphere up thus making it like there was no elevation change at all although water high enough to be over mt. everest is completely ridiculous there is no amount of water like that on earth and the writers of the bible have probably never been more than 1000 miles from their home which means that they would not know about the existence of mt everest and given that most mountains in the holy land are relatively small the thought of a flood is more logical

  8. We’re really getting somewhere now… Stop trying to confuse me with the facts. God knows, pardon the expression, that we can’t use rational thought to discuss matters of the Bible. If you believe in a God that can do anything, than any argument against it is automatically null and void. It always falls on deaf ears, but none the less is fun to debate.

  9. You’re right, if there was a giant magical flood of water that rose 20 feet over all the mountains in the world, it would have eroded them quite a bit, so in fact Mt Everest would have been larger before this “flood”. Especially considering that in order for a flood to be a flood, the water must not be frozen obviously, thus it would have melted ice and such that had built up on Everest greatly decreasing its size

  10. You are missing an important point anon, if you read the bible carefully it is obvious that Noah did not just use one Ark. The truth is he used THOUSANDS of arks! There was an entire flotilla of arks to carry those animals AND their food.
    This is the ONLY conclusion which explains how he saved all the animals (and his family) since there were literally millions of kinds and God told him to take two of each. Furthermore IF you knew anything about science you’d know that animals can eat manure, so that solves the food problem AND the manure problem anyway. Don’t believe yet? My dog eats his manure all the time and it’s even in the Bible that people can eat manure (II Kings 18:27) says “But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?”… so don’t go around blaspheming until you know science AND bible FACTS!

  11. Couple points…. 1. The earth was likely much flatter before the flood making the crest at an elevation capable of supporting life. The oceans sank and the mountains rose after the flood. 2. All animals are capable of hibernating which would all but eliminate the need for supplies with the exception of food for Noah’s family.
    If there was a flood wouldn’t we expect to see billions of dead things buried in rock layers all over the earth? Oh wait…that is exactly what we see. Your computer is likely being powered by those dead things right now. Coal and oil can’t exist without the organic components being buried before they have a chance to decay. That can only happen in land slide or a FLOOD.

  12. To answer the question it depends on what “kind” is, this can be either a Family or a Genus of animals. As for Family I’ve never found an exact number but a little under a thousand and for Genus about 8,000.

    As for the story of Noah that is a different matter. First you have to determine how many animal “kinds” there were so if we take the Genus as the family then you would start with 8,000 “kinds” of animals. Now depending on your translation of the Bible it was either 2 of every kind, 7 pairs of clean and one pair of un-clean or 7 clean and one pair of un-clean. So let us go with the 7 pairs and rounding for the clean and un-clean to come with about 30,000 as many biblical scholars have calculated. Now using the “baby” method of size and the average size would be a sheep size creature as a baseline.

    So now we have 30,000 sheep size creatures; which well fits into the size of Ark and have room to move, food and water them all. Now that is not the problem but the weight of it. Now there are varying estimates as to the deadweight of the Ark, the amount of cargo weight that it can carry but between 18,000 to 20,000 short tons. Now we know the basic feeding and water requirements of a sheep; which is about 1 gallon of water a day and 6# of hay/grass/grain and an average weight of a sheep is 100#. So let us do some math.

    30,000 sheep = 1,500 short tons
    1gal (8.35#) water per day (370 days) = 46,342.5 short tons
    6# of food per day (370 days) = 33,300 short tons
    Total short tons = 81,142.5 short tons
    Over max deadweight = 61,142.5

    Now let us use just the pairs

    16,000 sheep = 800 short tons
    1gal (8.35#) water per day (370 days) = 24,716 short tons
    6# of food per day (370 days) = 17,760 short tons
    Total short tons = 43,276 short tons
    Over max deadweight = 23,276

    Either way the Ark sinks.

  13. Water and air cannot occupy the same space therefore the air would have been pushed in to the upper atmosphere really I’m in 8th grade even I know that

  14. Let’s not forget the story of the bread and fish…Jesus used a few loaves of bread and fish to feed the crowd

  15. Um, Kelly, um, what kind of water did the Flood dump into the ocean. Um, was it fresh or, um, was it salt water? Um, because only one type of marine life could, um, live there, maybe neither, because, um, it was probably diluted salt water, which would kill both types. Um, so what happened to them?

    Here’s another question you, um, should consider, Kelly, since you are so interested in Australia. Why did all of the marsupials decide to go to Australia? And are you saying that the land masses shifted from “Pangea” to their current configurations in 4000 years? For Australia, that’s a drift of over 8000 miles in, or two miles a year, which is, um, some pretty fast floating for a land mass of 3 million square miles. Of course it must have stopped floating just prior to the onset of written history, so it really had to put on the brakes hard.

    That’s quite the science education you have there, Kelly. Don’t forget that the Bible also implies the Earth is flat and covered by a big dome. Ah, what do scientists know anyway! You go, girl!

  16. You know what else might have caused several hundreds of thousands of dead things to be burried under rock layers? …a lot of evolutionary TIME things live and die…water has nothing to do with it…it might seem more realistic if we more often or not found thousands of whale bones in the middle of colorado, but we don’t. And also a similar expliantion for your “it can only happen in land slide of flood” because of decay is perposterous… volcanos erupt all the time and back then were more active and if you don’t know your history it covered the entire city of pompeii people animals and all under lava which would also hinder decay. We also know that the process of “mummification” which has preserved bodies mellinia after their deaths is actually by a HEATING processes which prevents the body from drying out. If said asteroid did hit the earth and whipe out the dinosaurs it would have heated the earth evenly by green house gasses causing the same scientific fossil fuels you say only a “FLOOD” can cause..which you are wrong…

  17. Consider this: Historians, archaeologists, and scholars, religious and atheist alike, all agree that the Holy Bible has accurately predicted scores of historical events throughout written history, long before they actually happened. Go to and/or read a history book if you disagree. This phenomenon cannot be explained logically, but it is the undeniable truth. Again, this cannot be explained by logic, mathematics, or science, but is clearly a historical fact. This evidence alone (there is much more) should be enough to convince us that it is ILLOGICAL to believe that everything can be explained logically. ESPECIALLY when we’re talking about how the world we know came to be. If you believe in the big bang theory, you are STILL forced to accept that a huge rock just “magically” appeared out of nowhere and exploded, creating life and the universe. I believe God created the universe. Both theories are logically flawed, but mine openly accepts the fact that some things can’t be explained by logic. The other theory insists on logic, yet is based on a beginning that can’t be explained by logic. Go figure. The point is that no matter which side you’re on, you can’t expect to be satisfied by logic. At some point it ALWAYS boils down to faith. The story of Noah’s ark is true in my opinion. To try and disprove it with science is ridiculous, considering it comes from a book that continuously baffles science.

  18. I’d love to see a verse reference from the Bible that claims the Earth is flat and covered by a dome. I’ve NEVER come across that one before. Citing your sources would back up your argument quite a bit, don’t you think?

  19. Agree with Kaitlyn. Also, the big question for me is: if the whole planet was covered with water, where did all the water go? Please don’t tell me a giant old man in a robe sitting on a cloud just “wished” it away. The more likely answer is: the flood never happened.

  20. No it hasn’t predicted events. Faith is always the argument used when facts definitively dispute religious arguments. It’s astounding that people still support organized religion. Religion was “created” to control the masses and fleece them of their hard earned resources. Televangelest; need I say more?

  21. If ‘god’ is so ‘omniponent and all powerful’….why did it supposedly take 6 days to create the universe? And on the 7th day, did he plop on a lay-z-boy and say “Whew! I’m beat! I need a rest.”

  22. Any evidence we have that points toward evolution is entirely influenced by biased individuals who conduct their research with it already in mind that we evolved. This means its obvious they will “find” evidence that points towards evolution, and I guarentee you if researches deliberately went into the field with the preconceived idea that we were created they would find evidence to support it.
    One more thing worth adding, I’ve been told by atheists God does not exist (in any form) and he is basing this off all the fossil records. I’d like to just say, it is amazing the bible was written by men and is therefore hogwash, but these fossil records that no one has ever really seen with their own eyes, only artists (creative) depictions of them or recreated versions of what the fossils might have looked like whole. And this, although being based only off what people in white coats tell them, is the almighty, undeniable, unargueable and totally factual truth. That is a complete double standard and only deserving of the lowest intellectual merit. These people that use this as proof that God doesn’t exist are as blind and manipulated as anyone who follows a religion based only off what their preacher tells them.

  23. The article says, “The mollusk family, which includes sea animals like the clam, has more than 100,000 members, while the lobster and crab family has over 20,000.”, but I don’t think Noah would have bothered to take any sea animals on the ark, would he? Or am I overlooking something?

  24. The was no need to take water since it rained so much.
    Mechanisms could have allowed flushing, replenishing and evacuation of stale air etc… daily. Most animals probably hiberated.
    So there was no weight issue. Which was obvious anyway since water by volume outweights all cretures, foods, and grains, and whatnot, and the wood of the ark was no as heavy as steel and possibly bouyant
    There were no mountains like today since the great mountains of today are all obviously the result of horizontal compression forces converted to vertical uplift as opposed to notions of magic mountain growing forces hidden in the earth.
    The highest mountains of the world exhibit sedimentary layers and bent ones at that.
    The Pacific Ocean floor appears to have dropped dramatically, trapped the melted rock in the middle and popped a pimple called the Hawaiian islands dead center, which certainly isn’t a coincidental thing given the vast size of that ocean.
    The ring of fire proves that magmas and fractured surface rocks were created as a ring as the missing former plate fell and all the continents adjusted by moving toward the vacated space and ground to a halt producing the mountains we see now that align as proof.
    A 4o,ooo mile mid ocean ridge line and the Genesis mention of the breaking up of the fountains of the deep surely isn’t a 4,4oo year old coincidence either.
    And there is no history of language formation which is extremely odd since writing it down and talking about it would be the main topic for quite some time. Especially if anyone really supposed that 7,ooo language groups were all involved in competition…and with none of them simply accepting the first one, nor any others? And now no one can create a new language without cheating and stumbling around begging for help?
    I suspect that eye witness testimony will always trump biased storytelling based on remant evidences and artifacts of the past, and so, the Holy Bible is superior source of actual knowledge and fact about ancient things.

  25. I highly doubt that only “air-breathing creatures” would be harmed by a global flood. Fungi and plants aren’t going to survive a year submerged in water, even as seeds or spores. Mark also had a good point. The water probably would have ended up brackish, which would have killed pretty much every aquatic organism on earth. Yes, there are brackish adapted species, but brackish water is almost always found in shallow salt marshes. Brackish species adapted to deep water are pretty much nonexistant. So yes, noah would probably have to bring fish, whales and other cetaceans, mollusks, crustaceans, protists, flatworms, algae species, deep-sea bacteria and archaea, fish, aquatic worms… etc. etc. Which just raises the question, how much freshwater would he have had to bring exactly? How much salt water? How much mud for mollusks? And most importantly, how exactly was he able to provide 11,000 + psi water pressure for the unique deep sea genera?
    Taking this into account, it seems that Noah would have had to bring pretty much EVERYTHING alive, with the exception of terrestrial bacteria, water resistant plants, a handful of brackish species, and some of the tougher extremophiles and protists.

  26. Religion is simply ridiculous. Science is slowly exposing the holes in the Bible BUT people with faith will believe anything they are told. Those of you who think rationally and without faith (because for some of us faith alone is simply not enough), relax-Christians who preach and try to convert you are irritating, yes, but they mean no harm. I am a scientist and have a very good understanding of evolution and the BBT. If you truly understand it (which I understand is out of many peoples grasp, especially if they have been programmed from childhood to simple believe the bible and not question), these theories are so clearly correct, it is impossible to deny them. BUT there will be resistance from the church and the followers as there was when Galileo hypothesized that the earth was round. In 100 years time I believe that evolution and the big bang theory will be as accepted as truth as the world being round, however Christians will find excuses to work around these facts in order to be loved unconditionally. By a God who got so much wrong in the biography of the world he created. Who will send his children, good people, to a fiery pit of despair for not believing him.

  27. I’m sorry NickPhD but you are a little incorrect. Galileo faced resistance from the church because he believed in heliocentrism. In other words, he believed that the Earth was not the center of the solar system but in fact the sun was. The controversy arose because in some passages of the Bible the authors referenced the sun as if it were moving and the
    Earth was stationary, not to mention the fact that it seems to assume that we Are the center of the universe. This can be seen when Joshua states that the Sun “stood still.” In actuality, if this truly happened it would have been the earth that stood still (I’m not here to talk about the likelihood of this actually occurring.) Galileo adopted the understanding of Augustine who believed that passages of the bible should not always be taken literally. In the instance with the sun standing still, it would have appeared to the people on Earth that the sun had stood still, however, in actuality the earth stopped. One might argue that everyone would have died if the earth stopped moving but this is a foolish argument given that you are dealing with the assumption that there is a God capable of stopping the Earth. He could easily stop it from having an effect.

  28. There’s the issue of how many animals the boat needed to carry.

    Some problematic examples:
    – 400,000 different species of beetle
    – 4,500 different species of cockroach
    – 40,000 different species of spider
    – 10,000 different species of bird

    Then there’s the issue of feeding these animals for 1 year, for example, the lion needs a minimum of 4000 pounds of meat over 1 year

    Another problem, is 8 people removing the phenomenal quantities of animal poo excreted each day.

  29. There’s some incredibly deranged people about. Get a grip! Existential nihilism – that is all, deal with it and get over yourself!

    P.S. What happened to all the water if Earth was completely covered by it?

  30. I think the question was how many different kinds of animals are there, not species. which means birds are a kind, u don’t need every bird with in that kind, just birds, that’s 1 kind. in the end, there is about 15000 kinds of animals.

  31. in response to where did all the water go, first, if u read the creation account ull notice that there was water on the earth and a layer of water above the earth. God separated the water that was under the firmament (atmosphere) from the water that was above the firmament. which explains why it rained for 40 days and nights if the layer of water around the earth collapsed, which if the then earth has a lot less water on it than there is today, the water didn’t go anywhere, there is just more of it now than there was before the flood. plus some of it is frozen, which it wouldn’t have been before since a layer of water would create a green house effect making the planet warm everywhere. somewhat cooler at poles of course. which is why they find palm leaves and animals at the poles with green food still in their stomach frozen. in order for no decomposition to happen that animal has to be frozen within hours. the only thing that could do that is something from space that is much colder than anything on earth. so if a meteor hit earth, causes the collapse of the water layer, and instantly froze any animal in the vicinity of the impact, makes total sense. this is a theory and not proven fact.

  32. Oh my goodness. Such a lot of time spent debating something that doesn’t really matter now, and more importantly, isn’t moving the world forward in any sort of productive direction. THIS is what is wrong with how we spend our time in the world today, me included!

  33. It’s mythology, people. The earliest flood myth (of which there were several) was the Sumerian version found in the Epic of Ziusudra. Just like with the story of Noah, the pre-flood kings had enormous lifespans, whereas post-flood lifespans were much reduced. In the Mesopotamian version, some 2000 years B.C., the Epic of Gilgamesh tells the story of how the god “Ea” instructed the immortal man to build a huge vessel in anticipation of a deity-created flood that would destroy the world. The vessel would save the man, his family, his friends, and the animals. (Sound familiar?) The Hindus also have a story of a great flood, where the first man “Manu” is instructed to build a boat. There’s also a Chinese flood myth, a Finnish flood myth, and a Mesoamerican myth (to name a few). The story of Noah isn’t original. It’s not even the first. (Whether you like hearing that or not.)

  34. just because some one writes down a historical event before you do doesn’t render your account false. after the flood there were 8 people. Noah, his 3 sons and their 4 wives. when they had children they told them the story of the flood. that generation grow up they had kids and they told their children the story of the flood and so on and so on. over the years the story changed a little from tribe to tribe then nation to nation until the it’s all over the world . the fact that one person, family, tribe or nation wrote it down first doesn’t make the second, third, forth or fifth a plagiarist. it’s just that different people across the globe decided or were inspired to write the story down at different times. and maybe the details were lost in some versions but the core of the story is always the same. “God” or “The gods” were unhappy with man kind and flooded the world. only a hand full of people survived on an vessel with 2 of each kind of animal.

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