Both Spock and Dax have been able to make detailed calculations about the reproduction rate of tribbles. This calculation must also account for tribbles dying. How long do we have to wait for them to die?

Any reference in Star Trek which discusses this is helpful. Thank you!

  • On Iota Geminorium IV, individual tribbles probably don't live very long. Outside of their world, it's anyone's guess. On the Enterprise, some tribbles were poisoned, but that's obviously not a natural death. Sep 28, 2019 at 15:34
  • Their calculations only make reference to them not dying within the scope of their calculations. That means that they live for between three days and infinity days.
    – Valorum
    Sep 28, 2019 at 15:39
  • @Valorum - I don't remember Dax qualifying that during the DS9 episode. "O'BRIEN: There must be thousands of them by now. BASHIR: Hundreds of thousands. DAX: One million, seven hundred and seventy one thousand, five hundred and sixty one. That's starting with one tribble with an average litter of ten every twelve hours. After three days"
    – Vogon Poet
    Sep 28, 2019 at 16:30
  • If each tribble produces 10 offspring, most of the population is always young. Even with no die-off, the latest generation will always amount to 90% of the population. This means that you can make an OK estimate of the population growth without knowing the lifespan of tribbles.
    – Abulafia
    Sep 29, 2019 at 11:08

1 Answer 1


According to the (allegedly canon) IDW comic The Truth About Tribbles, Part II, tribble biology is almost entirely geared toward successful reproduction. They grow rapidly, breed rapidly and die rapidly, within a matter of days.

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Interestingly, Spock theorises that their breeding pattern increased when they feel threatened. This, in turn, presumably decreases their lifespan so a contented tribble might live for longer than one that is out of its element, we simply don't know.

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