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Star Trek Tribbles vs. Guinea Pigs: Side By Side Comparison of the Universe's Two Cutest Most Irritating Animals

Star Trek Tribbles vs. Guinea Pigs: Side By Side Comparison of the Universe's Two Cutest Most Irritating Animals
Guinea pig photo on left courtesy of Skoop102 via Flickr

Ever notice how guinea pigs look remarkably like tribbles? Tribbles, for those unfamiliar with the Star Trek oeuvre, are small, furry animals that multiply like crazy. How do guinea pigs and tribbles match up pound for pound?

1. Physiology

At this juncture, there is no known tribble anatomy book (at least, not known to me). But there is a diagram of a tribble cross section. They have no visible features except for their fur, which comes in a range of colors. Guinea pigs have noses, ears, eyes, and mouths.

Star Trek Tribbles vs. Guinea Pigs: Side By Side Comparison of the Universe's Two Cutest Most Irritating Animals

2. Predators

Tribbles are "mortal enemies" of the Klingon Empire. Their natural (or rather, genetically engineered) predator is the "glommer." Guinea pigs are mortal enemies of nobody in particular. Their natural predators are cats, coyotes, owls, hawks, dogs, snakes, and humans (who enjoy them roasted with a cold beer on the side).

Star Trek Tribbles vs. Guinea Pigs: Side By Side Comparison of the Universe's Two Cutest Most Irritating Animals
Delicious guinea pig photo courtesy of Jeff G. via Flickr

3. Disposition

Tribbles purr when held. So do guinea pigs. Tribbles basically eat and reproduce. So do guinea pigs. The longest living guinea pig (according to the Guinness Book of World Records) was almost 15 years old. Did it mellow out as it aged? The longest living tribble was 5 years old (according to this article written by someone with just slightly more time on his hands than everybody else).

 

4. Locomotion

Tribbles don't move much. I have no idea how they get around. Guinea pigs run fast. Some estimates put their top speed at 37 mph. That is so damn fast, I kind of wonder if there's supposed to be a decimal point in that, as in 3.7 mph?

A satin peruvian guinea pig...or Cousin It?
A satin peruvian guinea pig...or Cousin It?

5. Cost & Collectibility

Guinea pigs cost anywhere between ten and $35 bucks. Curly-haired Peruvian or Himalayan guinea pigs cost a little more. Tribbles, toy ones, cost $29.99. Two actual TV series prop Tribbles from the episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" were purchased at auction at Christie's in the US in 2006for $4,800. The estimated price before auction was $800 - $1,200.

Star Trek Tribbles vs. Guinea Pigs: Side By Side Comparison of the Universe's Two Cutest Most Irritating Animals

6. Fighting Potential

In a fight to the death, which would win: tribble or guinea pig? My money is on guinea pig, if only because tribbles have no appendages or teeth.

Star Trek Tribbles vs. Guinea Pigs: Side By Side Comparison of the Universe's Two Cutest Most Irritating Animals
Guinea pig stable in Sacred Valley, Peru. Photo courtesy of Martin B. Smith Jr, via Wiki creative commons

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