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Survival of the Slowest
by Oonah V Joslin

‘Six snails climbing up the brickwork. Why would they do that?’

“Don’t you anthropomorphise me, mate!”

“Who said that?”

“I did!” The lead snail was about level with my head. “You know the trouble with people?”


“Too much Disney! You think humans are the only intelligent creatures on the face of the Earth and if another creature does anything at all sensible you just have to endow it with so called human qualities!”


“You’d have thought it was obvious as that ugly conk on your face that it’s a matter of survival. A couple of hours ago if we’d been up this wall, the birds would have picked us off. Now we have to climb a sheer precipice to out-fox the bloody hedgehogs. It’s not easy being a snail you know!”

“I was talking to myself.”

“Self-obsession – another human weakness! I suppose you think mammals are more intelligent than we gastropoda!”


“Didn’t know the plural, eh? Why am I even surprised? We gastropoda are just as capable of associative learning as a…a… and just because our top speed is one millimetre per second, doesn’t mean we’re restricted. We have family everywhere – deserts, ditches; even the abyssal depths of the oceans and we interfere with nobody.”

“What about my lettuces then?”

“Your lettuces, my foot! Didn’t see your name on them buddy. You know the trouble with people?”

“I’m sure you’re about to enlighten me.”

“Too much Disney – no big picture! Now if you’ll excuse us – we have a wall to climb!”