The 8 Best Star Trek Pets
We give our choices for the 8 best pets in all of Star Trek.
Star Trek may be best known for its starships and its imaginative alien species, but the mythos also has a host of memorable pets, from the adorable to the utterly bizarre. From Miles O’Brien’s forgotten tarantula Christina, to Commander Kruge’s slimy and short-lived canine, Star Trek pets can be cuddly, weird, scary, and they can even save the day. Here are our choices for the eight best of them all.
8. Phlox’s Pyrithian Bat
It is not easy to get a screenshot of Phlox’s Pyrithian Bat from Star Trek: Enterprise. While Phlox (John Billingsley) mentions the beast often, it is almost never seen. One of the only times we get anything close to a clear view of the thing is in Season 2’s “A Night in Sickbay” when both Phlox and Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) struggle to catch the bat after it escapes its cage, only to have Sato (Linda Park) wander into sickbay and easily snatch it out of the air.
We never learn the bat’s name, if it ever had one, but it seems like of all the beasts we find in Star Trek: Enterprise‘s sickbay under Phlox’s care, it’s the closest to a genuine pet. It’s one of the few to survive and continue to be mentioned throughout the series, while most of the others were routinely sacrificed for the crew’s medical needs.
Perhaps the most unique of Star Trek’s pets is one we can’t even show you, because it doesn’t have a physical form. In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Forsaken,” an unmanned probe of unknown origin uploads a sentient program to the titular station. At first DS9’s computers are running better than ever, but soon Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney) realizes that whenever he leaves Ops, something catastrophic happens requiring him to return.
Eventually determining that the sentient program is hungry for attention from him, Miles writers a program that will keep “Pup” busy and still integrated into DS9’s systems. Pup is never mentioned again in the series and, as far as we know, remains integrated in the station as late as DS9’s appearance in Star Trek: Lower Decks.
They eat, they trill, they hate Klingons, and they multiply like a Gremlin dropped in a swimming pool. Introduced all the way back in the Season 2 Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Trouble with Tribbles,” the titular puffballs are one of the most recognizable of all the aliens in Star Trek’s mythos, not just the pets.
Of all the aliens introduced in Trek’s history, Tribbles are one of the many destined to never leave for good. Even as recently as the third and final episode of Star Trek: Picard, one of the creatures shows up in Section 31’s Daystrom Station and nearly scares the forehead ridges out of Worf (Michael Dorn).
Star Trek: The Animated Series is perhaps the most obscure of the franchise’s TV series, but nevertheless no pets in the entire narrative prove as heroic as I-Chaya — Spock’s childhood selat — in that show’s second episode: “Yesteryear.” In the episode Spock is forced to use the Guardian of Forever to go back in time to save the life of his childhood self. The pivotal moment comes when the child Spock is attacked by a Le-matya — a predator that is kind of like a large cat with poisonous claws.
The adult Spock is able to stop the Le-matya with a neck pinch, but not before I-Chaya has been poisoned while protecting the child Spock. The child finds a healer, but they return to the wounded Selat too late and the younger Spock makes the difficult choice to have I-Chaya euthanized. None of Star Trek’s other pets sacrificed themselves to save their companions.
4. Khan’s Ceti Eel
Yes, we know that — especially if you saw Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as a child — just seeing Khan’s Ceti eel can wake up some long dormant trauma. But that’s precisely why the creepy thing is on our list of best Star Trek pets. As the reason that possibly the most troubling scene in Trek is as disturbing as it is, the Ceti eel deserves a good spot here.
No Star Trek pet was so fully part of its crew than Enterprise‘s beagle Porthos. Captain Archer’s dog could be as ferocious toward invading enemies as he could be affectionate toward the NX-01’s captain. He’s also the center of perhaps the most emotionally taxing Enterprise episode, “A Night in Sickbay,” when Archer almost loses him.
By the way, we are not here to tell anyone what Trek they should or should not like. But, if you happen to be the sort who isn’t partial to the Kelvin Timeline films, the fact that we learn in 2009’s Star Trek that the Kelvin variant of Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg) transported Porthos to parts unknown should be high on your list of objections.
She. Is. A. Queen.
Her name is Grudge, and on Star Trek: Discovery she can often be found in the company of Book (David Ajala). The best way to get Book mad at you is to refer to his large cat as anything other than a queen, and her innate royalty is obvious as she lounges all over the controls of Book’s ship.
Out of all of Star Trek pets, none other can claim to have actually answered a hail on the viewscreen, like Grudge does in Season 3’s “Scavengers.” She is a queen, she deserves her worship, and if anything happens to her in Season 5, someone will pay for it.
How could the top spot go to any other Star Trek pets? Spot from Star Trek: The Next Generation — who would also show up in 1994’s Star Trek: Generations and 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis — can be the only choice for the top spot. As Data’s (Brent Spiner) constant companion in TNG, he (or she, the series seemed to go back and forth on that) was as much a part of the story as any of the recurring characters.
In fact, just the memory of the adorable Spot helps save the day in the final season of Paramount+‘s Star Trek: Picard. It’s Data’s memory of what he calls “the best of me, the last of me” that proves to be the final straw for his evil twin, Lore.