Guinea pigs are known for being very talkative and expressive little animals.
In addition to their body language, guinea pigs can produce a variety of sounds to communicate their feelings, including high-pitched squeaks, purring, and chattering their teeth.
You may have even heard your guinea pig making rumbling noises, more commonly known as rumble strutting.
But what is rumble strutting, and what does it mean?
Rumble strutting is the loud sound a guinea pig makes by inhaling and exhaling short bursts of air, and it usually sounds like a combination of a growl and a purr. When a guinea pig rumble struts, it will move its hind legs from side to side and may appear to be vibrating.
Guinea pigs mainly exhibit rumble strutting as a sign of dominance or mating sound.
A guinea pig may also occasionally rumble strut when they are excited, bored, hungry, scared, or communicate with other guinea pigs while they are playing.
Read on to learn more about why guinea pigs rumble strut and how to get them to stop.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Rumble Strut?
Rumble strutting is one of the many ways cavies express how they are feeling, and it is typically not a cause for concern.
For guinea pig owners, the reason behind their pet’s behavior may not be obvious, and rumble strutting does not always mean the animal is unhappy.
This section provides details on the most common causes of guinea pig rumble strutting.
If your guinea pig is purring, check out our article at the link.
As a Sign of Dominance
When a new guinea pig is introduced to the cage, the existing cavies are likely to start rumble strutting.
In this instance, the guinea pigs are rumble strutting as a sign of dominance over the new cavy.
Sexually mature adult male cavies are more likely to rumble strut when competing over who will be the herd leader.
This dominance in guinea pigs could lead to other behaviors besides rumble strutting, such as aggression and fighting.
While it is normal for cavies to display this type of territorial behavior, they can injure each other if the fighting escalates.
To prevent your guinea pigs from becoming overly aggressive with each other, it is essential to house them in a larger cage, so each animal has its own space.
Without sufficient space, cavies are more likely to become territorial and fight.
Each cavy also needs its own food bowl, water bottle, and a place to hide.
As a Part of the Mating Ritual
Male and female guinea pigs will start rumble strutting when mating season begins.
If there are two sexually active adult male cavies competing for a female, they will rumble strut until a winner is declared.
Females in season will rumble strut to let nearby males know they are available for mating.
Even though female cavies come into season quite frequently, they only do so for short periods, so the window for mating is very small.
Male guinea pigs will rumble strut and become aggressive about mating even if neutered.
There is no way to prevent rumble strutting during mating season, so it is best to watch your cavies during this time.
If your guinea pigs show signs of aggression toward each other, you may need to separate them until they are calmer.
Anxiety or Excitement
When a guinea pig is anxious or excited, the tension in its body will cause the air pressure in the lungs to increase.
Because of this tension in the chest, the cavy will make rumble strutting noises.
Excitement may also cause a guinea pig to make high-pitched squealing sounds.
Calm your guinea pig by giving it tasty treats or playing with it until the rumble strutting subsides.
Boredom or Stress
If a guinea pig is not mentally stimulated, the animal will become bored or stressed.
A bored guinea pig may start rumble strutting and sitting still or sleeping more often.
Prolonged stress will make a cavy more irritable and cause the animal to start rumble strutting.
Avoid boredom and stress by providing your guinea pig with a stimulating environment and allowing some playtime outside the cage.
Related: Why guinea pigs stare out of boredom.
A guinea pig will produce rumble strutting noises whenever there is not a lot of food.
These rumble strutting sounds let nearby cavies know when there is not much food available to them.
A hungry guinea pig will eat less, and the resulting slow digestion of its food causes gas to build up in the stomach.
This excess gas creates vibrations in a cavy’s digestive tract, which leads to the animal producing rumble struts.
If your guinea pig is rumble strutting, check the cage to ensure your pet has plenty of fresh hay and food pellets to eat.
Your guinea pig should have access to hay at all times, with the rest of its diet consisting of food pellets and fresh vegetables.
It is safe to give your cavy special treats but do this sparingly to prevent your pet from becoming overweight.
Rumble strutting is a natural defense mechanism for a guinea pig, and the noise is usually accompanied by head-shaking whenever the animal is frightened.
The guinea pig will rumble strut, and shake its head back and forth to make whatever is causing its fear back off.
Guinea pigs are prey animals in the wild, and rumble strutting, along with erratic body movements, is their only form of defense when they cannot hide.
If your guinea pig is rumble strutting and displaying unusual body language, it is important to investigate further if your pet needs some help.
Keep your cavy’s cage in a quiet area of your home away from sudden noises or activity to minimize your pet’s fear and keep them calm.
It is possible for your guinea pig to rumble strut as a response to another cavy.
Guinea pigs have very sensitive hearing, and they can hear low-frequency sounds.
Your cavy may even mimic any low noises it hears near the cage.
Playing or Exercising
Rumble strutting may be the result of your guinea pig playing or exercising.
Cavies will wrestle each other when playing, often causing them to rumble strut.
Exercise makes the guinea pig excited, and it will produce rumbles or squeals.
It is best to check on your guinea pigs whenever they play to ensure they do not get carried away and accidentally injure each other.
How Do You Stop a Guinea Pig from Rumble Strutting?
There is no specific way to stop your guinea pig from rumble strutting, especially if your pet is making the noises as part of the mating ritual.
Rumble strutting is not inherently dangerous for your cavy, but it may indicate your pet is anxious, stressed, or scared.
Gently stroke your guinea pig’s ears and neck, or place the animal in a quiet room for a few minutes to calm it down.