Tribbles (Polygeminus grex) were small, non-intelligent lifeforms originating from Iota Geminorum IV. Known for their prodigious reproductive rate, these round, furry creatures emitted cooing sounds while touched, which had a tranquilizing effect on the Human nervous system. Born pregnant, a single tribble with sufficient food could quickly increase its number exponentially through presumably asexual reproduction, bearing an average litter of ten every twelve hours. On their homeworld, tribble populations were kept in check by a large number of reptilian predators (Source: Memory Alpha).
These Tribbles can bee seen in the background of the landmark episode “Trials and Tribble-ations”, in the fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The black and the white-grey tribble were used around the Enterprise and the K-7 space station as set decoration in the episode. These two small Tribbles roughly measure 2″ around.
Tribbles are made from a piece of “figure-eight shaped” fake fur, sewn up to make a ball about five inches in diameter. The ball is filled with foam rubber; some tribbles were made by sewing a decapitated walking toy dog inside the fur skin, and the toy activated to make the tribble crawl. The tribble props for “Trials and Tribble-ations” were obtained from Lincoln Enterprises in 1996. Laura Richarz, set decorator on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and the production staff working on “Trials and Tribble-ations” purchased three sizes of toy tribbles from the company. Prop master Joe Longo later recalled, “We bought 1,400. …. [They] only had about 600 there and had to make up some more – it took two weeks. And then we had to make up some in Drapery; we didn’t have enough of the large ones.” (Star Trek: Communicator issue #110, p. 55).
The pieces above come from the collection of Gary Hutzel who has worked as VFX coordinator and VFX supervisor on the first five seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the entire run of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Screencaps: Trekcore.com / © CBS Studios Inc. , Paramount Pictures