The digestive system can sometimes be a noisy thing, from the stomach growling when you're hungry to the various noises food and/or gas make as they're being processed and passing through. In media, these sounds are often used to make very clear what's going on with a character, in two distinct ways.
If they're really needing to eat, or are known for having a huge appetite, their hunger can be indicated by loud stomach growling. In comics and animation, this is often accompanied by the belly visibly rippling or shaking. Sometimes this growling is loud enough that other characters can hear it, which can cause embarrassment; it can also lead to the character changing their plans on the fly to get something to eat. It can also ruin someone's attempt to hide from someone else.
On the other hand, if the character has eaten, rumbling and/or gurgling can mean that they're having some indigestion or are just a Gasshole. At worst, deep basso gurgling means major trouble is brewing, which often leads to a Potty Emergency or even Potty Failure in severe cases.
The medical term for this is the amusingly onomatopoeic word 'Borborygmus', though often it's simplified to just 'Stomach rumble'.
Not to be confused with Guttural Growler.
Note: This is often Truth in Television, but please do not list Real Life occurrences on this page, otherwise we would be here all year.
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Other examples (sorted by type):
- Happy Heroes: In Season 6 episode 41, Big M. is being taken care of by the other monsters when he is assumed to be pregnant, and the monsters are on the watch for when he's ready to give birth. One of the false alarms is him having a growling stomach from hunger and this being mistaken for him about to give birth, which is then followed by everyone thinking he's giving birth again when it's just Fish Monster's stomach growling from hunger this time.
- In Noonbory and the Super 7, this happened to Totobory in the episode "Coldygury And The Hot Lost Buns", while he is waiting for breakfast to be ready.
- Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In episode 22, the goats are hiding underground as the wolves search for them. Paddi's growling stomach is what alerts Wolffy to their presence.
- Pleasant Goat Fun Class: In Mighty Goat Squad episode 3, the caterpillars' stomachs gurgling prompts Weslie to get them some leaves to eat.
- In the first episode of Sweets Fairy, Mousse Benetta wakes up with a growling stomach and Mocha Dennis remedies it by providing her with food.
- There's a segment in the 2X-L program, "Monsters, Myths & Dinosaurs", where 2X-L takes the listener to interview with a caveman. Towards the end of the interview, the caveman mentions his stomach growling for food.
- It happens to Dot in the Animaniacs comic series story "Dot the Vampire Slayer" where she goes to get a midnight snack, but finds out that she's hungrier than she thought.
- In issue #1 of Batgirl (Rebirth, 2016), Barbara Gordon's stomach growls while she's visiting a friend in Japan. The two decide to grab some seafood shortly afterwards, with Babs grossing her buddy out when she decides to eat a small octopus.
- This happens in one of the Bone comics in an issue of Disney Adventures. In this instance, Phoney Bone's stomach growls very loudly, he tells it to shut up, and it whimpers in response.
- In one of the official Cookie Run comic books, Moonlight Cookie's growling stomach heralds her descent into hunger-induced rage, which sees her flying off the handle and acting uncharacteristically bratty right when Cream Puff Cookie compliments her for being the very soul of wisdom and grace.
- In The Dandy:
- It happens to the Geordies who are watching the jocks eat a typical Scottish dinner which they refuse to eat though Egbert was the only one who claimed his tummy was rumbling.
- When hungry enough, Desperate Dan's stomach can produce growls strong enough to generate Shockwave powerful enough to destroy houses.
- Anna works up an appetite while hiking in one of the stories in the Frozen (2013) comic book Frozen Adventures, Snowy Stories and mentions being hungry. When Olaf asks what hunger feels like, she explains it as feeling weak while your stomach grumbles, just in time for her tummy to growl as a demonstration.
- Happens to Gwen Stacy three times in her solo series Spider-Gwen. First time was in "Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted." Gwen Stacy has to return stolen money to a cashier who runs a hot dog store. While the cashier is complaining that not all the money was stolen, Gwen's stomach growls from hunger. The second time is in issue #26, after bonding with Venom. The third time is in "Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider," where she is notably hungry and is stated to be broke after getting out of prison. Her friend, Harry, ends up buying her something to eat.
- In a Peanuts strip, Snoopy asks to get fed, but Charlie Brown tells him about the Daylight Savings hour change. However, Snoopy’s stomach argued back at Charlie.
- Garfield: In one strip, Jon's growling tummy leads him to go to the fridge only to discover that Garfield had totally cleaned it out leaving inside a snowman.
- An anonymous limerick:
I sat next to the duchess at tea.
It was just as I feared it would be.
Her rumblings abdominal
Were simply phenomenal
And everyone thought it was me!
- My Beloved Mother: This happens to the protagonist, Sinbell, after wandering around the big city for three days with barely any food.
- Happens to Theo in a rather twisted episode of Between the Lions, "Huff and Puff", in which Leona runs off to write a second half of a story and tells her father Theo to stay put until she gets back. As a result of having no lunch yet, his tummy begins to rumble.
- Mutt & Stuff is the first Sid & Marty Krofft TV series to own this trope.
- Not only it happens to Stuff in "Cleo Kibble", but it happens to the other dogs as well, due to the food dispenser being broken.
- In Chibi Tiny Tales, Marnie's stomach constantly growls throughout the episode "First Date Fright" where she goes on a lunch date but keeps running into hurdles that prevent her from eating, such as Halloween Town's local cuisine being disgusting, and the restaurant staff taking away the sandwich she smuggled in.
- In Bee and Puppycat, Bee's stomach growls from hunger which she realizes that she has no money to buy food. Puppycat guards his food from Bee but she assures him that she's not gonna eat his food.
Bee: Crap! I ran out of food money!
[Puppycat guards his food]
Bee: Relax, man. I'm not gonna eat your food.
- On DC Super Hero Girls, Batgirl's stomach growls in the episode "My New Best Friend" while tinkering with her motorcycle, which causes Poison Ivy to mistake the growl for the engine starting itself.
- On Mighty Magiswords, Vambre's stomach growls at the end of the episode "Do You Know the Muffin King", where she's left hungry and disappointed after her brother pacifies a bunch of hostile Kotassiums with muffins but doesn't leave any for her.
- In the flash cartoon, Metal Gear Awesome, Snake asks one of the guys communicating with him why he hears a helicopter in the background, and he responds, "It's my stomach. I'm hungry."
- In Chapter 1 of Volume 3 of RWBY, just after their fight, Ruby asks if anyone else is starving. Blake mentions that she 'may have worked up an appetite,' at which point her stomach growls loud enough to startle all four of them.
- Gossip City: Tsubaki's stomach growls due to her skipping lunch.
- Happy Tree Friends
- Lumpy’s stomach gurgles in "Snow Place To Go", when he and several other Tree Friends are stuck on an icy island without food.
- Giggles's stomach growls in "Dunce Upon A Time" due to hunger, because she and Nutty are too poor to afford much food.
- Nutty’s stomach rumbles in "Chew Said a Mouthful", presumably due to not eating breakfast before starting the episode’s conflict.
- Russell in "Snow Place To Go" while he and his pals were stranded on a snowy area and he was hungry.
- Cro-Marmot apparently had this happen to him (as indicated by a picture of a lion on his belly) in "Dino-Sore Days", leading to him going after a dead dinosaur and accidentally upsetting an alive dinosaur in the process.
- Disco Bear's stomach rumbled in "Ipso Fatso", due to him being overweight.
- Lifty's stomach rumbled in "Buns of Steal", leading to him and Shifty trying to rob a passing bun truck.
- This happens to Emma and Stephanie in "LEGO Friends".
- Emma's stomach growls in "Finding the Pets: Emma" after she mentions a pizzeria.
- Stephanie's stomach growls in the episode "Dating by the Book" immediately after she says that she's not hungry.
- In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls shorts, It happens to Pinkie Pie in "Friendship Math" while working on a friendship quiz with Sci-Twi and "Pinkie Pie: Snack Psychic" after working up an appetite while working at her cafe job.
- Isla had this in "Learning about the Birds and the Bees" because she skipped breakfast.
- On Teenz, happened to Greeny in the short "Upper Shelf Problem". It's in the video "Short People vs. Tall People Problems".
- This is the focus of the Bluey and Rosy short Night of the Gruesome Growl: Rosy wakes up in the middle of the night to a monstrous growling sound. Scared silly, she searches the house for the source of the growl, only to realize at the end that it's just the roaring of her hungry belly.
- Germaine's gut noises are the punchline of the Neurotically Yours short Thrift Store, where her stomach unleashes a huge, monstrous growl that scares Foamy and a bunch of customers out of the titular store, due to them mistaking it for the roar of her scorned boobs.
Gas and/or gut troubles
- The Larva episode "Stomachache" features the main larvae, Red and Yellow, having this because they ate mushrooms.
- In Harley Quinn's 2014 annual, she eats a ton of pizza and gets incredibly gassy as a result. At one point, her stomach growls and gurgles loudly before she incapacitates an evil orderly with a noxious belch.
- In the Fraggle Rock episode "Fraggle Wars," Mokey tries to convince the Cave Fraggles to listen to their inner voices. The only "inner voice" they hear, though, is a stomach gurgle, which one of them says is his lunch digesting.
- In one episode of The Bedfellows has Sheen eating a ton of bubble gum in an effort to make a viral video. He turns the camera on his moaning stomach and we Gilligan Cut to him in a hospital bed having just had his stomach pumped.
- Happy Tree Friends
- Lumpy’s stomach gurgles in the episode "A Hole Lotta Love" after he eats several cans of beans, making him then rush into an outhouse.
- Nutty’s tummy rumbles in "Going Out With A Bang" due to eating a bunch of fireworks. Thankfully, he spots an outhouse nearby and gets inside to do his business.
- Flaky suffered a stomach gurgle in "Royal Flush" when she ate a sandwich with Mr. Pickels inside it.
- Splendid's stomach gurgles in "Breaking Wind", due to gas building up.
- LEGO Friends:
- Stephanie's stomach growls due to nausea in "Winner Takes All"
- It happened several times to Mini Tom because of diarrhea in the episode "Tom's Sick Day" of Talking Tom and Friends Minis.
- In the RedLetterMedia review of The Force Awakens, Mr. Plinkett's growling gut is likened to the roar of a Wookiee, before erupting into explosive diarrhea.