Star Trek is, of course, well known for its many humanoid species. From the Vulcans to the Klingons, there’s no shortage of memorable aliens. But there are some pretty great non-humanoid species in the franchise, as well. Some of these pets are recurring characters, while others may appear only once or twice but leave quite an impression, nonetheless.
Tribbles are loveable but highly problematic
Tribbles are potentially the most iconic non-humanoid species in the franchise. They’re little balls of fur that make an irresistible cooing sound. Everyone loves them at first, but due to their tendency to reproduce at an alarming rate, they can quickly overtake a starship.
That’s exactly what happens during their first appearance on the original series episode ‘The Trouble with Tribbles.’ As we learn in the Short Treks episode ‘The Trouble with Edward,’ they’ve apparently been genetically engineered to reproduce quickly, originally in an effort to combat starvation.
They’ve had many appearances and mentions over the years. One of the most notable comes in Deep Space Nine’s ‘Trials and Tribble-ations,’ where the crew travels back in time to the events of ‘The Trouble with Tribbles.’
‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Spot
One of the most widely recognized pets in the Star Trek franchise is Data’s (Brent Spiner) calico cat, Spot. While the cat is adorable, he doesn’t do anything particularly noteworthy. He’s basically a typical cat.
But what’s so significant about Spot is that he is an avenue for Date to continue to explore his humanity. Data sees how humans love their pets and chooses to adopt one himself as yet another way to try to better understand humanity. Interestingly, even though Data doesn’t have emotions, he seems to truly care for Spot. It’s another moment where it becomes clear that, at heart, Data is more human than he realizes.
In the Next Generation episode ‘Phantasms,’ Worf (Michael Dorn) is cat-sitting for Data. Data gives him a list of instructions, and says, ”And you must talk to him. Tell him he is a pretty cat and a good cat.” And in the episode ‘Schisms,’ Data even writes a poem for his feline friend.
Archer’s loyal pup Porthos
Named after one of the Three Musketeers, Porthos is Captain Archer’s (Scott Bakula) beagle on Star Trek: Enterprise. He has big, puppy dog eyes and loves cheese. Porthos is a fixture on the series, showing up time and again during scenes in Archer’s quarters.
While he’s not the most intimidating canine, he’s not a bag watchdog. He barks at spatial anomalies and shady characters like hidden Suliban.
In the episode ‘A Night in Sickbay,” we see Archer spending the night with Dr. Phlox (John Billingsley) as he treats Porthos, who has contracted a deadly alien virus. It becomes even more apparent in this episode just how much Porthos means to Archer. And it’s here that we learn Porthos’s mother belongs to one of Archer’s ex-girlfriends.
Vulcans and their sehlats
The sehlat is an aggressive, bear-like creature that Vulcans sometimes keep as pets. Both Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and T-Pol (Jolene Blalock) reveal they had pet sehlats as children. In the original series episode ‘Journey to Babel,’ Spock’s mother, Amanda Grayson, tells McCoy (DeForest Kelley) about Spock’s pet, whose name is I-Chaya, describing it as “sort of a fat teddy bear.”
This delights McCoy, who is thoroughly amused by the thought of the logical Spock gushing over an adorable pet. Spock then says, “On Vulcan, the teddy bears are alive, and they have six-inch fangs.”
In the Enterprise episode “The Forge,” Archer and T’Pol are chased by a wild sehlot and Archer is appalled to learn they’re kept as pets. T’Pol says, “You have Porthos.” And Archer replies, “Porthos doesn’t try and eat me when I’m late with his dinner.”
It takes a Klingon to love a targ
Targs are boar-like creatures with spikes on their backs. Klingons keep domesticated targs as pets and hunt wild ones for sport. They often eat targ meat, and a version of the famous Klingon dish gagh is packed in targ blood, as we learn in the Deep Space Nine episode ‘Prodigal Daughter.’
Both Worf and Martok (John Garman Hertzler, Jr.) have owned pet targs. In Deep Space Nine’s ‘Strange Bedfellows,’ we learn that Martok’s wife hated his targ and let it escape, saying it was an accident, though clearly she did it on purpose.
While targs seem like terrible creatures to have around, and are generally recognized as being violent and destructive, it makes sense that the Klingons would find them appealing.