'I sleep next to my pet pig – he's extremely sweet and cuddly'

Meet Mina Alali and her pet pig Merlin, an inseparable pair of pals who even share a bed.

Mina loves her piggy friend, but compares having him to caring for a human child.

Merlin loves a bit of a fuss and even communicates through a series of buttons dotted around their home.

‘Merlin is a mix between caring for a dog and a toddler,’ the 25-year-old, from California said.

‘He can be very dramatic and stubborn, but he is extremely sweet and cuddly – always wanting attention.

‘Merlin has buttons around the house where he can express what he wants or needs.

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‘This includes stuff if he wants to go outside, to be given attention and cuddles, and especially if he wants ice cubes.

‘Merlin also comes almost everywhere with me and is leash-trained.

‘He recently got a stroller which makes things easier if I need to get from Point A to Point B fast, and/or don’t want all the attention that comes with walking a pig on a leash in a crowded area.’

The influencer, who has 1.9 million followers on TikTok, spends around £77 [$100] on Merlin’s upkeep a month, as well as caring for two rats, Millie and Miracle, and Muffy the bearded dragon.

Mina said: ‘Merlin sleeps either on the couch or in bed next to me, but other than that, very similar to a dog.

‘He loves getting back and tummy scratches from [my other pets] when they crawl on top of him.

‘Merlin currently weighs 62 pounds and will get about 1.5 cups of his piggy kibble, as well as vegetables throughout the day.

‘He also gets 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil in a dog toy daily to promote skin health. It’s one of his favourite treats.’

Mina, who adopted Merlin in March last year, always wanted a pet pig.

She said: ‘I love intelligent animals and always thought pigs were so cute.

‘I knew I would have one, one day, so I was always really determined to make this dream come true.

‘I decided to adopt Merlin in March of 2022, and haven’t looked back since – Merlin is a house pig now and forever!’

Although not everyone in her family has been charmed by Merlin.

Mina said: ‘In general, whoever meets Merlin falls in love with him instantly.

‘He has human-like eyes, toddler tendencies and his short and stout figure is adorable.

‘There are only a few Persian family members who are not huge fans.

‘Any backlash I have has been people trolling, calling Merlin “bacon” or saying he looks delicious.

‘There are also some people who doubt that he truly understands what the buttons around the house mean, but his accuracy with the buttons when the cameras are off proves otherwise.

‘I know that the content I put out is authentic, wholesome, entertaining content that can put a smile on people’s faces, and that’s all I try to focus on.’

The pig certainly has his fair share of fans online, and is even an influencer in his own right with 161,000 followers on Instagram.

One commenter wrote under one of their posts: ‘This is the only video I’ve ever cared about in my life.’

‘He is the cutest,’ wrote another.

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