The Chinese refer to them as 豚鼠 (túnshǔ, 'pig mouse'), and sometimes as Netherlands pig (荷蘭豬, hélánzhū) or Indian mouse (天竺鼠, tiānzhúshǔ).
The Japanese word for guinea pig is "モルモット" (morumotto), which derives from the name of another mountain-dwelling rodent, the marmot; this is what guinea pigs were called by the Dutch traders who first brought them to Nagasaki in 1843.
Cages are often lined with wood shavings or a similar material.
Bedding made from red cedar (Eastern or Western) and pine, both softwoods, were commonly used in the past, but these materials are now believed to contain harmful phenols (aromatic hydrocarbons) and oils.
They move together in groups (herds) eating grass or other vegetation, and do not store food.
Guinea pigs tend to be messy within their cages; they often jump into their food bowls or kick bedding and feces into them, and their urine sometimes crystallizes on cage surfaces, making it difficult to remove.
Male guinea pigs may also mark their territory in this way when they are taken out of their cages.
In Western societies, the domestic guinea pig has enjoyed widespread popularity as a household pet since its introduction by European traders in the 16th century.
Their docile nature; friendly, even affectionate responsiveness to handling and feeding; and the relative ease of caring for them, continue to make guinea pigs a popular pet.