By Jos Weale
An exhausted couple have told of how they always have a gas mask to hand as they share their bed on a nightly basis with Britain’s most bizarre bed hoggers – a PIG and a stinky SKUNK.
Cheeky swine Rudy has no qualms about snuggling under the blankets every night with soon-to-be-married Jill and Scott Edwards – who even tolerate the potty pig’s ‘smelly farts’.
Meanwhile, Sophia the skunk, complete with blanket and litter tray, resides underneath the double bed, with the unusual pet’s nocturnal antics – and whiff – keeping her owners wide awake.
And the patient couple, from Aberbargoed, South Wales, concede that the critters ‘rule the roost – with Scott, 36, even snoozing on the sofa occasionally to avoid the smell of Sophia’s ‘stinky business’.
The couple even keep a gas mask in the cupboard in case the skunk sprays from her notorious anal scent glands, which they use as a defensive weapon in the wild.
Mum-of-one Jill, 31, said: “Rudy sleeps in the bed with us every night, he likes to snuggle under the duvet. He doesn’t snore but he farts loudly. Scott will tell him, ‘Rudy!’ when he does it.
“And the smell wakes us both up.
“Sophia just likes her own space. She lives under the bed, there is a small gap of about five inches where she can get in and she has her blanket and litter tray there.
“Because she’s nocturnal, she starts making noises in the night.
“And she goes at least once or twice a night, so we’ll have to get up to change her litter tray.
“I’m often in and out of bed anyway because I have to look after my son in the night, so I can change the litter tray, but sometimes Scott sleeps on the sofa because he can’t handle the smell.
“But we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
And Jill, whose fiancé Scott works in aerospace, claims the animals’ dominance is not restricted to sleeping arrangements alone.
Their ‘pampered’ nine-month-old mini pig Rudy, who could grow to weigh 200 pounds, unleashes havoc every day, tearing apart furniture and eating anything in sight.
Jill said: “Rudy will eat everything, and break things, from bits of furniture to clothes and toilet rolls. He’s even eaten my son Oakley’s first school photograph.
“So that’s why my house is kept really minimal.
“You have to make sure the bathroom door is barricaded if you’re in the bath so he can’t get in, or he’ll run around and eat the toilet rolls.
“He’s constantly giving me the run around.
“And he’ll start to go through the terrible twos as well soon, pigs have that stage as well.
“But he is a pampered pig. He’ll get oil massages for his skin, and he probably has more clothes than me.
“He has shoes to protect the flooring, and he has more than Scott. He’ll just eat Scott’s shoes.”
And in the event of any smelly sprays from Sophia, two, who still has her scent glands intact, Jill says she is well-prepared with a home gas mask.
Jill said: “Skunks are quite solitary animals, but she will dig around in the bark pit in the yard with Rudy.
“When she was younger she sprayed a few times, but it doesn’t really happen now.
“After the first time it happened, I thought, ‘I’m not going through that again,’ so I’m well prepared with a gas mask in the cupboard just in case.
“In America and other places people have their scent glands removed, but that’s illegal here. I think if you want to have an animal, you shouldn’t change that animal.”
Rudy and Sophia are not the only animals to reside in the family’s bungalow – they also get along with two dogs, two rabbits and pair of sugar gliders, which are a type of noctorunal gliding possum.
And despite the little porker’s chaotic behaviour, cute Rudy has a softer side, incredibly building a budding friendship with Jill and Scott’s non-verbal autistic son Oakley, four.
Jill said: “Oakley was diagnosed with autism when he was three. He doesn’t know how to communicate, he can’t talk. He doesn’t pay any attention to any of the animals. But I’ve noticed recently he responds to Rudy.
“Rudy always wants to cuddle on the sofa, and I’ve noticed recently that Oakley will cuddle with him and touch him.”
But Jill believes exotic animal lovers should definitely air on the side of caution before investing in unusual pets such as pigs and skunks.
Jill said: “Animals do take a lot of care. They are a lot of work, they control your life.
“A lot of people think they will stay small when they get pigs.
“Having unusual pets draws a lot of attention. If you open the door then people will see the pig, and when we take the skunk out we’ll get people asking about her. But to me it’s just normal, it’s not a big thing.
“But one day in the future I want to get another pig, probably after Rudy’s gone through the terrible twos because he likes the all the attention.”