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Amazing Animals: Merlin The Pig Learns How To Read!

Images show a pig who learns to read using flash cards. Left image is the pig sitting. Right image shows the pig giving a high five.

Mina Alali is a girl with many unusual pets: rats, a cow, a pig, a bearded dragon, and a dog. Merlin is her pet pig, and he’s an intelligent boy. Mina has trained Merlin to do some routine tricks, and Mina thought the smart pig could learn to read. And she was right!


Merlin learned all of these in under an hour! He surprises me every day…also his lil hop 😭

♬ original sound – Mina Alali

Merlin helps out around the house by opening the cages for her other pets. He even helped their petsitter get into the house when she accidentally got locked out while Mina and her husband were gone! Merlin has a few talking buttons around the house that allow him to communicate using actual words, too.

When it was time to teach Merlin to read, Mina began with basic commands such as “sit,” “kiss,” and “high five.” These are tricks that Merlin already knew. Mina wrote the words on paper and then went through them verbally first. Within an hour, Merlin was “reading” the cues and performing the tricks without verbal commands.

Mina Alali teaches her pet pig, Merlin, to read using flash cards with simple commands.
Image from TikTok.

We aren’t sure if Merlin is the first reading pig, but it is impressive. Pigs are highly intelligent animals. The Humane Society of the United States ranks them smarter than dogs and about the same as a three-year-old child. They are communal and prefer living in small groups. Contrary to popular belief, pigs are quite clean, so keeping them as an indoor pet is acceptable.

Living With A Pig As He Learns To Read

Mina has many videos with Merlin on her TikTok channel. In one video, Merlin teaches the dog (Maverick) to use one of the talking buttons. Maverick wanted to play with the rats and didn’t want to wait. When you have a house full of critters, mayhem is bound to happen. As with any tightly-run household, performance reports are a necessary evil. We’re not sure Maverick and Merlin pay attention, but they sat nicely during the review.

Image shows pet-owner Mina Alali giving her dog (Maverick) and pig (Merlin) performance reviews.
Image from TikTok.

If you enjoyed learning about Merlin, the reading pig, please visit Mina’s TikTok channel for more fun videos. Also, share this with a friend if they like pigs, too.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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