Kirk: Hundreds of thousands.
Spock: One million, seven hundred seventy-one thousand, five hundred sixty-one. That's assuming one tribble, multiplying with an average litter of ten, producing a new generation every twelve hours over a period of three days—
Kirk: And that's assuming that they got here three days ago—
Spock: Also allowing for the amount of grain consumed and the volume of the storage compartment—
A creature which reproduces at an alarmingly fast rate. Often, there will be only one to start with, suggesting that it can reproduce asexually. If not asexual, the creature may employ Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong to extend its list of potential mates to outside its species or employ Express Delivery to bring on the next generation immediately. In extreme cases, there may be more total weight of offspring after a few generations than there was weight of available food. Which is completely impossible. Rabbits and rodents tend to show this trope. Truth in Television to an extent— but often comically exaggerated.
Can potentially result in a Wave of Babies. Often the real reason to fear a Ridiculously Cute Critter, Small, Annoying Creature, Adorable Evil Minions, or a Killer Rabbit especially if they employ the Zerg Rush on their foes. If they pose a threat more due to eating all available food in the area then they are a Horde of Alien Locusts.
- A Visa commercial showed a man buying a pair of rabbits for his son. The pet store owner takes so long to verify the check that the pet store gradually overflows with their offspring.
- An advertisement for Volkswagen featured cars breeding until they filled a city's streets completely. The model in question? The Rabbit, of course.
- The man-eating rabbits in Pet Shop of Horrors, which appear to share biology with the aphid - they're all female, they become pregnant asexually with puberty, but fetal development is held at a standstill until the mother's body signals (probably by lipogenesis) there's enough available food for a litter.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Early on, Kuriboh's main strength comes from its ability to multiply into the thousands in the course of a single turn, allowing them to swamp even the most powerful opponents with self-destruct attacks. It does require a Spell Card called "Multiply" in order to do this; the version of this card in the actual game has a much less powerful effect.
- BioMeat: The eponymous creatures. Unfortunately for everyone, they're also Extreme Omnivores.
- Digimon: In the second movie note , the villain replicates himself several million times in just a few minutes. This is justified in that he's on the Internet, and is explained as being a type of virus. Furthermore, the copies don't have nearly the same resistance to damage that the original does, as a Spam Attack destroys everything except the original.
- Scarfies in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!
- Naruto features creatures called Onbaa in episode 185. After Naruto spends most of the episode with a baby Onbaa clinging to his back, they, in Tsunade's words, "mate like rabbits" outside of the village; courtesy of a flock of eagles, everyone in Konoha, human and animal alike, has a baby Onbaa clinging to them by the end of the episode.
- In Happy Happy Clover Kale one of Clover's oldest friends. Has 6 baby rabbits, who can cause some mischief and would sometimes get themselves in trouble.
- One Piece gives us a human example in Charlotte Linlin, aka Big Mom, one of the Four Emperors. With her 85 children (39 daughters and 46 sons) born from 43 husbands, she certainly lives up to her epithet, as Brook lampshaded. She's only 68 old, but gave birth to decuplets when she was 50 and she still managed to gave birth to children beyond that age.
- In Seven Mortal Sins, Mammon, the Demon Lord of Greed, has over 500,000 children.
- A human example is Mother of Champions from DC Comics. Her power is to conceive a litter of 25 children each time she has sex, who complete gestation in 3 days, after which she gives birth. These metahuman offspring are superhumanly strong, but age ten years for each day they're alive, so they are used as expendable cannon fodder by the Chinese government — she has no contact with them once they are born. She has apparently given birth to thousands of these offspring, sports a perpetual pregnant belly, and relies on a robotic chair with six insectile legs to carry her around, as she gets too large to walk on her own.
- Myth Adventures: In Phil Foglio's comic adaptation, there's a Running Gag about small dragons that reproduce on contact with water. One of them happens to get into a market stall demonstrating umbrellas, and after that they keep showing up everywhere, until at the end of the scene the original owners are forced to round them all up. (The artist added even more dragons when the comic was reprinted as a graphic novel.)note
- An issue of Star Trek: Alien Spotlight focuses on tribbles. In this version, they are at least semi-intelligent, and use their breeding offensively. There's also the implication that their breeding caused some sort of disaster, possibly due to lack of resources. And they did the breeding in response to Klingons ("rufflefurs") threatening the humans that showed up.
- The Frogs of the B.P.R.D. comics take this trope quite literally, as their reproduction involves converting their bodies into giant "wombs" to hold their tadpoles, until their bodies burst open with thousands of miniature Frogs. Every one of these can grow into a seven-foot tall killing machine in less than four months, and need not be bothered with education thanks to their genetic memory.
- In Prickly City, Kevin is the Lost Bunny of the Apocalypse. This is awkward when you are given form that calls for you to list your siblings.
- Played with in an early strip, in which the eponymous cat tosses a pair of coat hangers into an empty closet. It only takes until the end of the same 'strip for them to multiply until they fill the closet to bursting.
- Another strip does the same thing with bunny slippers left under the bed.
- Played for laughs in Fantasia 2000. In the Noah's Ark sequence, when the animals disembark, there are still two of every kind, except for the rabbits - twenty or thirty of them hop by an astonished Donald Duck.
- The Cy-Bugs of Wreck-It Ralph. When one newly-hatched Cy-Bug is inadvertently taken from its home game of Hero's Duty into the cutesy kart-racing game Sugar Rush, in the process of one night, it manages to create an entire colony of Cy-bugs, big enough to cause a Class 4 apocalypse event.
- In Zootopia, Judy Hopps (a rabbit) has 275 brothers and sisters (at the beginning of the film, when she's nine, no telling how many she has 15 years later), and the Population: X, and Counting sign outside her town of Bunnyburrow is seen with an eight-figure number that is continuously going up as she takes the train to Zootopia. She even jokes about it while estimating Nick's unreported income:
Judy Hopps: I mean, I am just a dumb bunny but we are good at multiplying.
- The mayor and his wife from the 2008 film adaptation of Horton Hears a Who! has a total of 97 children! Despite that amount, they consist of 96 daughters...and only one son. And they have to share only one bathroom.
- TRON: The Grid Bugs.
- Sammael in Hellboy combines this trope with Resurrective Immortality. It lays eggs containing clones of itself, and if it "dies" two eggs automatically hatch.
Nadine: Um, Professor, the little wiggly worm things in there are breaking.
Ira: It's not breaking, it's splitting. It's mitosis. It's how they reproduce.
Harry: No sex?
Ira: No time for sex.
- The... host-thing in Slither. Literal explosion, too. Poor Brenda.
- The Crites in the Critters sequel were also rapid breeders.
- Gremlins: The Mogwai/Gremlins. Don't get them wet.
- Godzilla (1998):
- The species of the mutant lizard was capable of laying up to two hundred eggs asexually, threatening to replace humans as the dominant species on Earth. Imagine if the original Godzilla was capable of that?
- Had the proposed sequel been made, the danger presented by this ability would have been offset somewhat by the reveal that a full-grown Godzilla is capable of reproducing only once, and the number of eggs produced is determined by carrying capacity of the land.
- Alien series: The Xenomorphs. Give the queen somewhere cozy and warm and she'll carpet it with eggs. A literal Explosive Breeder, in fact.
- Tremors: Shriekers, the second stage of Graboid life-cycle are this; they're asexual, and when they eat enough they literally start vomiting out babies, which are implied to grow into adult size within minutes.
- In The Muppet Christmas Carol, Rizzo the Rat comments that he can't relate to Ebenezer Scrooge's lonely childhood, because he had over twelve hundred siblings growing up.
- A rare case in The Great Wall in which a Hive Queen actually subverts this trope: the Tao Tie are a hive-minded swarm all birthed from a queen, but it takes decades for the queen to birth enough warriors to lay siege to the Capital. As such, they only attack once every sixty years, having built up the population enough to attempt another Zerg Rush.
- The guinea pigs in the short story "Pigs is Pigs" by Ellis Parker Butler (and the Disney cartoon adaptation).
- The Mote in God's Eye examines this in detail with the Moties; not only do they breed rapidly, they're biologically unable to avoid breeding. Their race has been destroying itself in apocalyptic wars and rebuilding from the ashes of their world for hundreds of thousands of years.
- In David Eddings' The Elenium, the insect-like Seekers would, if permitted, cover the Earth with their eggs and feed all life to their offspring.
- Fragment: One reason the island organisms pose such a danger to the global ecosystem is that they're all this trope.
- Ringworld: City Builders are extremely fertile, such that every act of mating within their species automatically results in offspring. Females also go into heat periodically, making abstinence all but impossible for them. They consciously subvert this trope by mating with other sorts of hominid.
- Henry Huggins: One of the books in Beverly Cleary's series has Henry buy a pair of guppies, only for the guppies to breed until his room is covered in fishbowls and feeding fish takes up all of his free time.
- The Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein: Martian Flat Cats. One flat cat produces a litter of eight kittens every thirty days or so. Not so bad comparatively, unless you're on the spacegoing equivalent of a RV and your trip lasts almost six months.
- The Gryphons in The Wayfarer Redemption were born pregnant - with nine more Gryphons. Gorgrael's advisor intended them to only breed for three generations (Giving a total of 820 Gryphons), but Gorgrael found a way to make it self-sustaining. Since he kept the pregnant generation away from the front lines until they gave birth, getting rid of them was a serious problem for the heroes.
- The space spiders (Organism 8198) from Into the Looking Glass are an interesting example. They were created as a bioweapon against the Dreen, and in any other environment they eat and breed at barely subsistence level. If they do have Dreen to eat, however...in only a couple hours, one spider dropped onto one dead bioform can multiply into a tidal wave of scuttling purple death that eats every Dreen on the field while leaving everything else unharmed. It's fully as awesome as it sounds.
- Galaxy of Fear: The Swarm introduces thumb-sized drog beetles. A well-fed pair of them is noted to produce ten eggs in a day - and once the eggs have hatched, it only takes a day for the offspring to be ready to breed. In small numbers they're fairly harmless and docile, but in enormous swarms they will eat people alive.
- This was humanity's great advantage against the elves in the Ryria Revelations. Elves were better than humans individually in every way: stronger, faster, tougher, more technologically advanced, and better at magic. But where humans could replenish their numbers in decades, elves needed millennia. As one character put it, "[the elves] were drowning in a floodtide of humanity"
- The Grendels of the Lisa Shearin SPI Files series lay 20-30 eggs per clutch, and lay three clutches every breeding cycle. Even though they only breed once or twice a century, the fact that the newborns are fast enough to dodge bullets and strong enough to kill and eat a grown human (And the adults are even nastier) makes one wonder how humanity managed to push them out of their native habitat in the first place.
- Similar to the Garfield example before Erma Bombeck would write in her column about how clothes hangers can reproduce themselves. Just one example:
Sexually active coat hangers are at their peak when they are in a small closet. We once lived in an apartment with a closet so small it couldn't support a rod just two nails. Within a week (the shortest gestation in the history of coat hangers) we had thirty-seven of those little suckers.
- The Dromi in Arrivals from the Dark are large amphibians, who reproduce asexually by producing hundreds (if not thousands) of larvae. While the vast majority of them will not live past several years of age, this still leaves the Dromi with an exponentially-growing population that constantly requires more and more space. This is the primary reason for their continual search for more living space, resulting in frequent conflicts with other star-faring races. In the novels, the current Dromi population is estimated at being many times the combined populations of all other known races. As they don't fear death, the Dromi typically employ We Have Reserves tactics against their enemies. Some unique Dromi have learned to curb this mindset and believe that the Dromi need to be forced to limit their breeding to manageable levels. Unfortunately, in order for that to happen, someone must defeat them, and that someone must not be willing to exterminate the entire species.
- The Ecological Engineering Corps weaponized this trope in the backstory to George R. R. Martin's Tuf Voyaging, as demonstrated in "A Beast for Norn". Haviland Tuf, owner of the last EEC seedship, hates cruelty to animals so when some planetary nobles try to buy monstrous beasts for their pit fights he throws in some "harmless little critters" to feed the beasts for free. By the time he's ready to leave the system the first house to buy from him is starting to notice that the rabbit-like hoppers he gave them to feed their new cobalcats are stripping their lands bare of vegetation, destroying their farmlands and bankrupting them.
- Star Wars Legends: The Essential Guide to Alien Species states that the Begger's Canyon womp rats (first mentioned in the original movie) could produce litters of sixteen or more at a time. This, coupled with their size and habits, made them a severe pest to local human and alien populations, and was a factor in the government of Anchorhead announcing a bounty of ten credits per womp rat killed, something Luke Skywalker and his friends took big advantage of to help pay for their education and upgrades to their speeders.
- Star Trek: The most famous example is the tribbles, which did mention that they reproduce asexually. In fact, they are actually born pregnant, and as long as they're fed, they'll keep making more tribbles. Word of God states that the tribbles were based on the rabbits in Australia note . Ironically, these creatures were instrumental in identifying the actual villain in the episode. It's probably a good thing the Klingons and tribbles instinctively hate each other, since otherwise they would have wiped out all life on several planets - though nuking their homeworld was probably a bit much.
Odo: Do they still sing songs about the Great Tribble Hunt?
- Sanctuary: The Nubbins. Basically tribbles with eyes and teeth, plus the ability to become mostly invisible. Oh, and they're sexually juiced up from lots and lots of pheromones, which also affect humans.
- In an episode of Father Ted, Dougal got a pet rabbit, and promises Ted he'll be careful with it. Cut to a week later, and there are rabbits all over the room, and neither Ted nor Dougal even notice.
- On a season-finale episode of Hoarders, a Truth in Television example played out for a man who'd let his three pet rats — one male, two females — escape from their cage months earlier. He didn't have the heart to let them starve, or to separate the females from the litters they'd hidden in the walls, so just kept putting down food for them. Result? A ruined house from which over three thousand fancy rats were removed by humane-society workers.
- The Nanites, on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- The Basil Brush Show used this as a Running Gag. In one episode. They bought two rabbits. However as the scenes pass, more and more appear.
"There's these two here... And those two there! How did that happen?"
- Referenced in Hogan's Heroes when Carter catches a rabbit and suggests they keep it as a pet.
Carter: One rabbit wont be too much trouble, will it, Colonel?
Hogan: Carter, my boy, I must tell you the truth - there is no such thing as one rabbit.
- Echidna, Mother of Monsters. Many adaptations (Dungeons & Dragons for example) record her as the Ur-Monster, the ancestor of a large portion of the world's monstrous population... usually the near-mindless sorts, leaving the semi-humanoid or otherwise intelligent monstrous races to have been created by their own patron deities or whatever.
- Genesis 1:28: "Be fruitful and multiply", otherwise known as God's famous injunction toward Adam and Eve as the first humans. Some sectsparticularly the Roman Catholic Church and the various "Quiverfull" sectsplace especial emphasis on this edict, which may go a long way to explaining why Catholic countries historically have much higher population growth rates, and much larger families, on average.
- In Dungeons & Dragons, we have orcs, goblins (including bugbears and hobgoblins), and kobolds. Interestingly, all three of them are (Usually) evil.
- Humans are this to most of the other civilized races. It's noted that elves, dwarves, halflings, et al tend to be longer-lived, but compensate by having fairly low birth and fertility rates, and taking a long time to grow to maturity. The "normal" human birth rate, by comparison, comes across as this trope, which is why Humans Are Average; they're the only ones who have spread basically everywhere and formed all sorts of different cultures.
- Warhammer 40,000: The Orks, capable of appearing in the millions once a small regiment of ork soldiers has infested a planet somewhere. Some believe that Orks divide like amoeba, while others believe that they are an inherent part of the warp and by invoking emotion through pillaging, the warp itself manifests Ork hordes out of thin air. Tau theory suggests that the Orks are a fungus, budding spores that attach themselves to the environment and suck it dry to produce the little "imp" and "goblin" orks that follow the soldier Orks wherever they go, growing up to become psychopathic killing machines if they survive everything the galaxy throws at them. The horror is not lost on the Tau.
- And what's worse, this theory isn't very far from reality: individual Orkoids release spores gradually over time and en masse on death (being Orks, they tend to do that a lot). If the spores find somewhere safe and out of the way to grow, they usually first produce useful mushrooms and varieties of Squig, followed by Snotlings and Gretchen who begin cultivating the land, taming the Squigs and establishing crude settlements, until the actual Orks start to grow and take charge of the burgeoning tribe. The timeframe for this process is not very long at all, likely only a few years. Chances are if a single green-skin organism lands on a planet, it will be infested with them for centuries to come, as the local inhabitants will have to continually fight off increasingly larger hordes of greenskins attacking from the wilderness. The only way to stop this is to burn the Orks' bodies after killing them.
- Warhammer has its own Orcs ("Orruks" in Warhammer: Age of Sigmar) and also has the Skaven, subterranean rat-men with a world-spanning underground empire. The losses the Skaven suffer with their surface raiding and inter-clan warfare can't keep up with their reproduction, so they'll eat their own young if the opportunity presents itself.
- Moria, Angband, and other related Roguelikes have several mostly low-level monsters which, as the in-game descriptions say, "can breed explosively." The most notorious of these are the worm masses, in all their annoying color variants. Even worse is in ADOM, where creatures get stronger as you kill more of them.
- Dwarf Fortress has cats, which can actually breed so fast that if you dump a bunch into hell itself they will still breed faster than they are killed. Their, ah, fruitfulness, would not be a problem by itself, as only a very few animals need to eat yet and cats aren't one of them — so they're an infinite source of meat and leather, if you don't mind violating conservation of matter. However, unlike most animals, cats adopt their owners rather than the other way around, and once this happens, they can't be butchered, and killing them in some other, completely unintentional fashion will give their pet dwarf a bad thought. Keeping them, on the other hand, will wreak havoc on your framerate — and of course, they'll breed more kittens. The massive framerate issues from an uncontrolled cat population has been nicknamed a "catsplosion". It's finally been resolved for good with the implementation of gelding, though some players find catsplosions so iconic that they'll insist on controlling their populations without it.
- Birds and rabbits have been added to the animals dwarves can keep. Rabbits actually have some form of population control — they need to graze on grass or fungus in a pasture, or they'll starve to death. Despite this, "releasing" them into cavern pastures full of fungus has had the expected results of rabbits breeding faster than they could be killed by wildlife, and on occasion even killing particularly puny Forgotten Beasts on their own (Physical Hell doesn't grow grass or fungus, so the rabbits starve too fast to Zerg Rush the demons).
- Birds on the other hand do not require food yet, they lay and incubate eggs in large clutches, and it is theoretically possible to surpass the population cap many times over by having forty female turkeys (a dozen or so eggs per clutch) and one male, and enough nestboxes for a massive birdsplosion.
- In Insaniquarium, both Prego the Momma Fish and the Breeders give birth to approximatively one guppy per minute.
- Space Monkeys in Space Quest V: The Next Mutation. They actually exploded a space station they were in.
- One of Knights of the Old Republic's sidequests has the player dealing with an invasion of gizka — small cute critters with an exponential breeding rate that are basically the Star Wars counterpart to tribbles — on their ship. They're apparently considered pests on many worlds and many different traders in the game stock gizka poison.
- Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando: The Protopets. They also reproduce asexually by spitting their offspring fully formed from their mouths. If you miss even one of a group of them, they will do just that the second you turn your back, often ending up with more than there were originally. It's no wonder that they were the focus of the villain's plot.
- Diablo II: Some of the beetles, particularly the ones in hell. However, they don't have fast maturing rates, and the kids act much differently then the parents in terms of attack plans, making it more of a Mook Maker.
- The Flood. The carrier forms literally explode to disperse infection forms. The infection forms also mutate their hosts implausibly fast. The Flood are like a macro-scopic version of The Virus.
- The Grunts. Their homeworld is a Death World where natural flame geysers are but one hazard among many. One way the Grunts cope with this as a species is by breeding very rapidly. When taken out of that environment, they have to be given contraceptive chemicals in their food and breathing gas to keep their population growth manageable. However, these restrictions are lifted in times of serious war when the Covenant need more light infantry.
- Quest for Glory: The antwerp is a literal Explosive Breeder.
- Cerberi in God of War can spit out Cerberus Seeds, nasty little puppies that grow into full-grown Cerberi, which will spit out more Seeds... One mini-boss fight in the game was basically trying to kill a small group of them before you got overwhelmed.
- The Palm OS game Space Trader has the Tribbles. Woe betide you if you're carrying food goods while they're on your ship. If you can find the tribble collector, though, you could sell them off for some serious credits.
- The Gonarch in Half-Life, also qualifying as a Mook Maker. Apparently the final stage in the life cycle of Headcrabs, it is essentially an enormous quadrapedal exoskeleton with an equally enormous testicle dangling from it, from which it spawns an endless amount of underdeveloped Headcrabs until Gordon kills it.
- Unholy War: The Prana Devils. Their out of battle ability is to produce another prana unit. In battle, they lay eggs with hatch into baby pranas that chase the opponent.
- The krogan of Mass Effect used to be this trope in order to withstand their home planet. Scanning one former krogan colony world showed that they reached critical overpopulation in one generation. If it weren't for the genophage, they could easily have overrun the galaxy. The genophage reduces them to one live birth in a thousand (the rest being stillborn). If they didn't kill each other so fast this would leave them with fairly stable population growth rate.
- In Mass Effect 3 a character comments that a fully fertile, healthy female can have, wait for it, a thousand children in a year. Like the insects of Earth, on their homeworld most would die, but off Tuchanka and with significant medical technology, and with clans wanting to have troops with which to wage war... Krogan also have very long lifespans. They do not follow the Immortal Procreation Clause at all.
- Salarians, to some extent. Females lay dozens of eggs automatically every year. If these go unfertilized they become males. If fertilized, they become females. Salarians have short lifespans of forty years, so they must mature fairly quickly. However, they also self-regulate; they only fertilize ten percent of their eggs and write up complicated reproduction contracts around those instances. Even so, all the worlds they colonize have high populations.
- There are also pyjacks, which are much like the Gizka before them in KOTOR. These were formerly called "space monkeys" in Mass Effect 1 and have become a major pest on the krogan homeworld.
- The angara in Mass Effect: Andromeda are litter birthers. It's unknown exactly how many children they have per pregnancy, but they tend to have large families and the idea of someone being an only child is baffling to them.
- The zerg from Starcraft. Their gameplay mechanics are based around in producing millions and millions of little creatures.
- Here's a fun experiment: Take any two compatible Pokémon, and leave them at the Day Care. Once you have your egg, time how long it takes for the next one to appear. Repeat ad nauseum. If one of them has a different Trainer ID (was traded for), but they're both the same species, breeding will go insanely fast, and the Day Care owners will even comment that they seem to like each other a lot.
- In Epic Mickey, Oswald the rabbit has 420 Bunny Children. They're adorable and eat mooks.
- In Bio Metal, a computer analysis apparently shows the titular monsters increasing in such a number that, if their planet is not destroyed within 32 hours, they would take over the entire galaxy!
- Creatures: Norns. Especially a genetic variant known as Fast-ager norns, who reach adulthood within seconds, live forever and are incredibly fertile. Many Fast-ager norns also go through pregnancy extremely fast, leaving them ready to breed almost immediately. If it weren't for the population limit preventing new eggs from hatching, they'd crash your game.
- FireEmblemHeroes features its resident Ms. Fanservice, Loki, gushing over how rabbits have so many children while she is dressed in a bunny leotard, implying she'd like to do the same.
- In Galactic Civilizations, the Torians and custom races with the same Super Ability breed four times as fast when they're happy. This tends to cause morale problems due to overpopulation, but on the other hand boosts your income (more people = more taxpayers) and makes it hard to invade your worlds unless the enemy has Spore Ships.
- Livestock mobs in Minecraft breed at a much faster rate compared to real life. Seconds after being fed their preferred food, they give birth to a baby that becomes breedable after mere 20 minutes (one in-game day) and can themselves breed again after 5 minutes. There's no penalty for in-breeding, so there's no problem in creating a massive animal farm from two initial mobs in just a few hours.
- In The Guardian Legend, one of the enemies in the labyrinth areas is a blue spider that if left unkilled, turns orange, then red, then it splits into seven identical copies of itself. These individual copies can split even more, making things a little... complicated.
- Early builds of Scribblenauts had bunnies that spawned infinitely if two bunnies are next to each other until it crashed the game. Today, they still do that, but only until the budget bar fills.
- The X Parasites of Metroid Fusion, asexually-reproducing spores that can infect anything, kill the host, and take on its form and skills. Their numbers were kept in check by the Metroids, so it turns out exterminating them in Metroid II: Return of Samus wasn't such a smart idea.
- Star Control:
- Star Control has the Shofixti, a sentient rodent species. At the time of Star Control II, due to the war against the Ur-Quan, their species is down to one male and six females. Bring them together and the species repopulates within a few weeks, and gives you a cheap supply of crewmembers for your fleet.
- The Spathi heavily exaggerate this, being a former prey species with few natural defenses. While it's not elaborated on, one prominent Spathi captain remarks that he grew up with over 18 thousand siblings. The day his mother called him by name was one of the happiest days of his life.
- Mother Maiamai of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds has exactly 100 babies that you must thoroughly search Hyrule and Lorule in order to rescue.
- The Grid Bugs in the I/O Tower mission in Bally/Midway's TRON constantly breed as you try to fight your way through them to enter the Tower before the timer runs out.
- Many RPG's have generic "Slime" monsters (Dragon Quest's slimes don't count) that multiply when you fight them meaning you have to kill them all before they multiply again. (Though sometimes they only multiply a certain amount of times before stopping)
- Ultima V in addition to the slimes, has Gargoyles guarding Blackthorn's Castle's parapet, which are unstoppable. They will multiply until they fill up the entire screen, have a lot of Hit points, and deal a lot of damage.
- Zapper: One Wicked Cricket! has Maggie the magpie, six of whose eggs you have to collect on each level including the final boss fight for a total of seventy-eight. She also shoots her eggs at you during the battle.
- Nugs in the Dragon Age series seem to have this trait, as indicated by a codex in Dragon Age: Inquisition. They can eat almost anything, even rocks, but they have no natural defenses and are poorly-suited to most climates-they freeze in the cold and blister in the heat. But they "outpace every tooth and claw" because they breed like rabbits.
- X-COM's Chryssalids, literally. As long as there are people to incubate they will not stop reproducing.
- Some species in Stellaris can have the Rapid Breeder trait and/or the Migratory trait. If you set up a migration treaty with another empire predominantly populated by one of these species, you can find that new colonies may be overrun with species of migrating aliens to the point that the planet's population can easily overtake it's ability to sustain the population, and can cause shortfalls in production until the situation is resolved. Combined with the Repugnant Trait, it may even force your own species or those of the native populations off the planet. If not careful, they could overrun an entire empire. Some players deliberately make these, with the intent of creating a subversive population that wants you to cede the planet back to the empire they came from... or make you regret conquering them in the first place.
- Warframe: The Sentients can breed at a prodigious rate. Combined with the fact that they are also nigh-Physical Gods and virtually impossible to kill, they are almost invincible in their stronghold system of Tau. They easily defeated the Orokin Empire's forces sent to fight them (helped by the fact that they could easily corrupt and subvert any Orokin technology). However, they are extremely weak to the Void, the only method of FTL travel. Trying to travel through the Void usually destroys them, but they can survive for a time if they have sufficient protection—but even then, they are rendered sterile. This is the only reason they have not been able to take the Origin system yet, as the few Sentients in the system are forced to act in the shadows as manipulators instead of their traditional overwhelming Zerg Rush tactics. Except now some Sentients are arriving from Tau without going through the Void. It took them centuries to cross the distance in realspace, but they had the time and the patience.
- Swarm Simulator is possibly one of the biggest example in videogames. It's an Idle Game about a Horde of Alien Locusts that reproduce extremely quickly. Of note are the meat collecting units, the drones. These are succeeded by Queens, Nests, Greater Queens, Hives, Hive Queens, Hive Empresses, Neuroprophets, Hive Neurons, Neural Clusters, Hive Networks, Lesser Hive Minds, Hive Minds, Arch-Minds, Overminds, Ascendeds, Cosmic Networks, Galactic Clusters, Universal Cortexes, and Endless respectively. Each unit produces the unit below it, meaning that you'll have over 10^500 drones after just a few ascensions.
- Clown V from Purara Heroes comic can spawn an infinite number of different unoriginal Clown V girls.
- Sexy Losers has a character known only as the "Unbelievably Fertile Woman", who is constantly explaining to her horrified children the bizarre circumstances in which they were conceived. "And that's the story of how you were born!"
- Chakona Space has the Faleshkarti, when they reach maturity they become obsessed with sex, sex triggers a hormone that decreases their intelligence, and the only way to slow the hormone's progression is to get pregnant. Also, they're Hermaphrodites so every single one of them can give birth. When the Federation makes contact with them every inch of land on their homeworld is covered with arcologies and the oceans had been converted into massive algae farms. Federation geneticists eventually discover a way to prevent the neural degradation and lower their sex drives, which was rather fortunate as they were breeding more quickly than they could colonize new planets
- Toki's species, erins (pronounced EE-rihns). Females can reproduce at will and the species has two ways of reproduction (for females anyway), so this might be bound to happen.
- In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, it's played as a Running Gag with the ancient Eldar — whenever a pair of them appears on screen, they multiply exponentially until entire screen is covered with them. The Emperor mentions that they were breeding so fast, they eventually ruined their reproductive cycle, explaining why in present day they are Endangered Species.
- Fluffy Pony works generally agree that the gestation period of the titular creatures is a few weeks, for a litter of four to five that age to adulthood within a month. Many works also detail vast portions of the U.S. practically overrun by herds of them as a result.
- 5 Second Films sketches featuring meeps begin with usually one of them and end with a whole place overran with them, with catastrophic results.
- The Fae in the erotica series Faeophobia. The Fae are a race of nymphomaniacs who enjoy having children, so they're pregnant all the time. Gestation lasts a few days and multiple births are common. It's mentioned that human adoption agencies are under a lot of stress trying to handle the massive amount of Fae children.
- The Rugrats episode "Spike Runs Away" has pair of gerbils exploding into a huge, seething gerbil-sea in the basement in the space of two weeks.
Stu: Didi! Come quick! The gerbils hav reproduced!
- Ed, Edd n Eddy: a pair of rabbits reproduced so quickly that they filled a garage to bursting within a few hours. It did not help that Ed was allergic to rabbits. The entire cul-de-sac was overshadowed by a tsunami made entirely of rabbits.
Johnny: I told you bunnies would take over the world! And they have!
- Tex Avery:
- The short "Magical Maestro" has rabbits conjured up in an opera singer's hands early in his performance. The second time rabbits appear in the singer's hands, he tries to hide them behind his back, but around a dozen offspring appear on his arms as he raises them less than two seconds afterward.
- Another cartoon (based on the Fairy Tale The Elves & the Shoemaker) shows some elves towing a long rolling tray with two bunny slippers on the front of it. It goes behind a pillar, and when it comes out the other side, the tray is covered in tiny bunny slippers.
- The Naughty Naughty Pets took this to an utterly insane level, having rabbits literally pop out of thin air. The entire planet was coated with them after about two minutes.
- The Disney short "Pigs Is Pigs" has this with guinea pigs. We start with two and by the end of the short there's well over a million. When two go out of view temporarily, expect at least three kids to show up when they come back into sight. Which is, in fact, the usual size of a healthy cavy litter.
- An idea for an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short had Oswald being overwhelmed by the never-ending influx of bunny children, even going as far to attack the stork. In Epic Mickey, Oswald The Lucky Rabbit has 420 kids. His mate? Ortensia, a cat.
- The Partridge Family in 2200 A.D. had Rubi-roobian Rubits, which were mostly a Shout-Out to Tribbles.
"And the males have started laying eggs!"
- Started happening to penguins.
- Happened when Bender duplicates himself creating two smaller Benders and they duplicate themselves and so on. They multiply and become smaller until they are atom sized and infest the Earth.
- The Simpsons : Bull Frogs were depicted as this when Bart, ignorant of the purpose of quarantine laws, brought one with him when the family went to Australia.
- Whatever Chowder and Panini are, as they resemble rabbits (and are described as at least part rabbit). In the flash-forward finale, Panini has had fifty babies, twenty of which she had popped out the previous day.
- The Smurfs had fuzzles, fluffy pink balls which multiplied whenever they ate something. And of course, they ate anything, starting with a spoon and culminating with houses.
- The Angry Beavers: The beavers decide to stay up all night because they're not tired. After a night of shenanigans and fun, they realize that they accidentally unplugged their clock and have been awake for thousands of years. In the Sequel Episode, they find themselves still not tired so they use various methods, including using a herd of sheep to sleep, to no avail. Eventually, they go to sleep for another thousands of years, then they find their house in the middle of a futuristic world over-populated entirely with sheep.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The Parasprites from "Swarm of the Century". Like the famous tribbles, they also reproduce asexually and end up eating everything in Ponyville. Interestingly, and rather realistically, the whole infestation can be traced to Fluttershy finding one and deciding to take it home with her. This is exactly how such non-native species can get a chance to wreak havoc in Real Life.
- South Park:
- The Jakovasaurs. The two that are the last of their kind breed and children keep popping out. When the town tries to get rid of them with a fixed game show, the prize is a trip to France for himself and 50 of his closest relatives.
- Oddly inverted with St. Peter Rabbit, who apparently had just one descendent (Snowball) despite being of this trope's archetypal species.
- The "Squishface" from Sealab 2021 when it has alcohol. Also shares characteristics with shmoos and Gremlins.
- In Adventure Time episode "Web Weirdos" a Spider give birth to thousands of spiders that drown Finn and Jake.
- The Transformers G1 episode "Kremzeek" was about a little energy creature who did this.
- The Action League Now episode, "Chickie Chickie Bang Bang" has a rare species of Easter Chick that have been known to eat anything and multiply at an alarming rate after they've eaten.
- The usual rabbit thing is averted in the Animaniacs sketch with the Hip Hippos on Noah's Ark. Most likely because the rabbits in question were Buster and Babs Bunny (no relation), and playing the gag straight would've led to all sorts of trouble.
- One segment from Timon & Pumbaa featuring Zazu involved him counting all the animals in the jungle to see which one he missed on his record. When he got to rabbits, it started out as two, but they kept multiplying and forcing him to readjust his count until he couldn't keep up.
- The original concept for The Loud House was a rabbit named Warren who had twenty-five sisters. Eventually the series was changed to a human boy named Lincoln who has ten sisters instead.
- Looney Tunes:
- The Scotsman from Samurai Jack was revealed to have a literal army of daughters in Season 5.
- The lowly cabbage aphid is listed in the Guiness Book of Records as "Most Fertile Animal". It is estimated that if all the descendants of a single female survived to breed, within a year they would produce a mass of offspring weighing many times that of the entire current world population! Made worse that it happens to be a plant pest that can kill off most vegetation by sucking them dry with their sheer numbers...thank heaven for ladybugs!
- The aphids are asexual breeders for part of the year, not needing a male to reproduce during that period. They also give birth to live young, only laying eggs in late fall to stay dormant all winter. And to top things up, baby aphids are born pregnant-the granddaughter embryos start to develop within the daughter even before she is born, and at birth can start breeding and herself give birth in as little as 5-6 days!
- Homo sapiens (humans) actually downplay this trope; our population skyrocketed in recent centuries because we so thoroughly conquered all competition and our environment. It's difficult to call humans explosive breeders when it takes nine months to produce a single, initially-helpless (for YEARS) offspring from two viable members of both sexes.
- In fact, humans exemplify the opposite species survival strategy of most explosive breeders. Humans produce few offspring, but are quite long lived and are not easily killed off or preyed upon.
- How fast is the human population growing? About 50 years ago, the number of people on Earth was just 3 billion, less than half of the current (as of 2013) 7 billion plus. Since the rate at which our population is growing is also increasing, it's not unlikely that many people will live to see the population triple as well. Since fertility rates in developed countries tend to be drastically lower than undeveloped or developing ones, most projections have the population leveling off at around 10-11 billion by 2050, and declining thereafter.
- The infamous Australian rabbit incident. In 1860, a dozen rabbits were released there, for "adding hunting as a spot of home." It backfired. In only ten years, they had multiplied to over 600 million rabbits, which eradicated native marsupials, caused erosion by overgrazing, and preyed on small livestock such as poultry.
- Truth in Television for many, many animals. These animals tend to be lower on the food chain, so most of their offspring get eaten. That's why the planet hasn't been overrun yet. Moving one of these species to a new habitat that lacks their natural enemies, though, is a bad idea. Case in point: rabbits, sheep, and mice in Australia.
- Some microorganisms have a gestation period measured in minutes. Which is why they mutate so fast. What takes the average macroorganism (maturity at four years) to evolve — say, seventy generations for it to be well entrenched and spread through the population — takes the average bacterium one day.
- To give you an idea of just how fast bacteria populations can grow if unrestricted, if it takes ten minutes for one bacterium to become two, then in an hour you will have sixty-four. In five hours you will have one billion. In twenty-four hours you will have 2.2 × 10⁴³ note —about one hundred times the mass of the entire Earth! In forty-eight hours they will have exceeded the mass of the visible universe. Most micro-organisms reach stationary phase due to space or food shortages, or environmental pressure, long before this happens.
- Explosive breeding in certain animals is actually quite beneficial for science. It is much easier to observe genetic effects in organisms that gestate within hours than those that do so within days. The model organisms for scientific research are usually those with a short (relative to their family) breeding cycle.
- Many invertebrates facilitate this trope by breeding parthenogenetically, eliminating the delay imposed when a mate must be located. Aphids and rotifers are probably the best-known examples of this.
- Rats tend to go everywhere humans do. When the rats arrived on ships in Pacific and Caribbean islands and started taking over, humans tried to solve the problem by importing mongooses as predators — thus creating a new problem when the mongooses devastated native fauna.
- For a queen ant, bee or termite, laying several hundred eggs per day (or several thousand, for some species) for the rest of her life (which typically measures in several years, sometimes up to a decade or more) is par for the course. Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of those eggs produce worker and soldier ants/bees/termites, which have a relatively high mortality rate (exceptions being workers that are colony-bound, e.g. "nursemaids" that tend to eggs and larvae 24/7), a short lifespan (a mere few months on average) and are sterile (in most cases), so it all balances out.
- Champion breeder among all ants is the queen of the Dorylus driver ant, which live in colonies of over 20 million individuals. The queen produces as many as a million eggs every month, and can live for as long as 16 years in some cases!
- Some microorganisms have a gestation period measured in minutes. Which is why they mutate so fast. What takes the average macroorganism (maturity at four years) to evolve — say, seventy generations for it to be well entrenched and spread through the population — takes the average bacterium one day.
- Viruses, the most abundant biological entity on the planet, replicate by forcing their host cells to create new viruses, which (for non-enveloped viruses that won't just bud out of the cell membrane) tends to end with the host cell literally exploding.
- Ignorant human fishermen inadvertently invoke this trope when they cut starfish in half, thinking they're eliminating the competition for mussels and oysters. Too bad the pieces of a bisected starfish can regenerate (provided enough of the center disc is intact), creating two hungry echinoderms...
- Internal parasites must invoke this trope in spades, as only a tiny fraction of their eggs or larvae will be lucky enough to make it into a new host organism. Tapeworms, the uber-example, are basically a continuous strand of gonads with an anchor at one end.
- All mites are born with a half dozen embryos already inside of them. Each one has one male embryo, and a handful of females. The females all take turns being impregnated by their brother. When they're ready to be born, they eat their way out of their mother, and leave their brother to die.
- Their extremely short reproduction cycle is one of several reasons why Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) are very useful as model organisms, e.g. for genetic experiments.
- In population biology, "K-selected"note species are limited by competition for resources in their environment, which is why they invest heavily in a few offspring to insure their survival. "r-selected"note species are in environments which allow rapid population expansion (e.g., flowers in spring time). They have as many offspring as possible but invest little to ensure individual children's survival. The "Explosive Breeder" is r-selected.
- Truth in Television for many fish, but special mention goes to the Ocean Sunfish ("Mola Mola"), which can lay up to 300 million eggs in one spawn!
- Chickens, which lay eggs every single day. Fortunately most farmers keep the roosters separate so they don't fertilize the majority of the eggs, and of course the eggs are mostly eaten. And they're completely helpless in the wild and the wild Red Junglefowl they were bred from are just seasonal breeders.
- Domesticated animals in general tend to be like this, as humans have deliberately perpetuated bloodlines that breed fast, early, and often. Domestic dogs will reproduce as young as 6 months and go into heat twice a year, while the wolves they're derived from don't normally start breeding until age 2 and only have an annual reproductive cycle. The same thing happened in the Russian fox domestication experiments.
- Bacteria and many other unicellular organisms. Since they don't need sex to reproduce (although some may hook up and exchange genetic material in addition), they can go through several generations in a matter of minutes! This has implications when it comes to antibiotic resistance: it doesn't take long for bacteria to evolve it. They are also used to model the effects of something on several generations because of this rapid reproduction. It also helps in the making of yogurt, cheese, bread, wine, kosher dill pickles, sauerkraut, and beer.
- Creatures that use the strategy of predator satiation invariably breed like this. They don't necessarily breed often, but when the time is right, they will expand their populations to such high numbers that, though they have little to no defense on their own, every local predator can feast on as many of them as they want, and once the predators are all full and grow sick of eating them, there will still be enough of these creatures left to create the next generation. Cicadas use this strategy, as do two fish commonly eaten by humans, Alaskan pollock and tilapia. The aforementioned Tribbles in Star Trek fit this description to a T as well.