Pet Vietnamese pot-bellied pig is dubbed ‘world’s’ smartest pig’
A cute pet pig has become a TikTok sensation after learning to ‘speak’ using buttons to communicate its needs.
Merlin, an eight-month-old mini Vietnamese pot pig, can ask for food, water or a walk and even tells his owner that he loves her.
Voted ‘world’s smartest pig’, he can also use a litter box and has made friends with his other pet rats.
He has now amassed more than a million followers on TikTok and Instagram, while his owner Mina Alali, 25, from San Jose, California, explained: ‘He has a button where he clicks it when he’s hungry. Or when he is thirsty and if he presses outside, we go outside.’
Merlin can talk using buttons that say messages that she wants to go for a walk or eat food or play
Merlin quickly befriends Mina’s two pet rats, Millie and Miracle, who ride on his back
Animal lover Mina had wanted a pet pig since childhood and finally bought Merlin earlier this year
Mina said: ‘Everyone always comments that he is the smartest pig in the world.
‘It’s something I never expected, but he’s learned everything so quickly.
‘I just wanted him to be well mannered and house trained but it’s been so surprising how clever he is.
‘Merlin is the most intelligent, adorable, dramatic and stubborn little pig.’
Mina, a social media manager who describes herself as an animal lover, has dreamed of having a pet since she was a child.
Eight-month-old Merlin started snuggling in bed with Mina as soon as he arrived at her house
And that dream came true when she bought little Merlin for £350 in March this year.
She said: ‘I’ve always wanted a pig. The way people react when they see cute dogs is how I’ve always felt about pigs.
‘As a child I used to go to the petting zoo to see the pigs.
‘They are so smart and so sweet and I knew I wanted to adopt one day.’
After bringing him home, Merlin quickly befriended his two rats, Millie and Miracle, both one, and her bearded dragon Mochi, who sadly passed away last month.
And he also showed how smart and warm-hearted he was – snuggling up to her in bed and apparently learning commands such as ‘sit’.
He regularly walks on a leash and loves to stop and play with other animals, mainly dogs, who get confused when he prays.
Discovering this, Mina began to teach him how to use a litter box.
And hoping to train Merlin to speak, she bought buttons that can be programmed with pre-recorded messages.
Each button has a different message that allows Merlin to communicate with Mina, including asking for food or water, going for a walk, and even for her to sing and dance with him.
One even says “I love you” which Merlin slaps when he senses Mina is upset.
Mina said it never took more than a day to train him – which she did by rewarding him with treats and kisses.
Mina said: ‘He was incredibly easy to train, any new trick never took more than a day.
‘If he did something I would just repeat the words over and over.
‘He can do music and dance so I’ll start singing or pick him up and spin him around.’
Merlin has now amassed more than 1 million fans on social media and is quite famous in his local area and is regularly seen around
Mina then started posting videos of the 11 kg pig on her TikTok account.
And she and quickly gathered a million followers from animal lovers all over the world.
She said she also felt like a celebrity when she started walking him around the block.
She said: ‘For the first week I felt like a famous person because everyone was stopping me to take pictures or to pet him.
‘What people always comment on is how he wags his tail like a dog and smiles like a human when he’s happy.
‘He is very social and he loves being pet.’
Merlin also loves to play with Mina’s two rats and will carry them on his back for walks around their house together.
Mina said: ‘Merlin is very gentle with the rats so when I took them out to play and he took them on piggybacks.
‘It’s amazing and just melts my heart.
‘I’m sure he would be good friends with all animals. I want a dog one day and I think they will warm to each other and become lovers’.
Mina’s videos on TikTok, cataloging their adventures and training, have amassed hundreds of millions of views.
Merlin is so adorable that many have also written to Mina, who is a vegetarian, to say they can no longer eat bacon.
She had previously shared videos on her TikTok of her bearded dragon Mochi, whom she also trained, which inspired her to train Merlin when she first adopted him.
Mina added: “I just want to make the cutest and most wholesome videos I can.”