‘Ever since we had Giant African Snails as pets, I certainly can’t kill them,’ said the woman at the adjoining table when the subject of pesky slugs and snails slithered into our conversation as we drank cappuccinos. In her classroom she replaced the white mice as they were ‘too smelly’ and brought in Giant African Snails. She said they made good subjects for her young pupils to study and to care for. I’ve seen these humungous things on sale in African shops in Peckham… where they are sold not as pets. She told me that they can live to age 14 but that these snails ‘came to a sticky end’. A child offered to take them home for the summer holidays. The teacher gave the family enough money to cover the cost of feeding them. ‘But when the girl went on holiday, her grandmother ate them.’ No more pets were introduced to the class.