Life and Style Large breeding snails of the 'gros gris' variety in Helen Howard's production unit

Heliculturists have increased production 25-fold since 2000. Cahal Milmo meets some and finds out why more home cooks and chefs are shelling out

Last Night's TV: Giant Squid: Inside Nature's Giants Special/Channel 4<br/>Reggie Perrin/BBC1<br/>Sex Trafficking in Cambodia &ndash; Stacey Dooley Investigates/BBC3

On the (highly) scientific scale of natural squirmyness, cephalopods rank pretty high. Even grilled, seasoned with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, they take a certain oomph to tackle. Raw, enlarged and sprawled on a dissection table... well, suffice it to say thank goodness it wasn't tea time. Not for me anyway.

Tax breaks make venture capital trusts tempting

But there are still potential risks for investors, warns Julian Knight

Roasted onion squash, chard and scallops

Serves 4

The Natural World: On the trail of the Vietnamese snail

I'm scrabbling through the soil, picking through the vegetation and scouring beneath the rocks for snails. As curator of molluscs this isn't unusual, but this time I'm in the middle of a tropical rainforest in northern Vietnam, 120km south-west of Hanoi. It is over 30C, humid, and I'm pretty sure I've just been bitten by another blood-sucking leech – but I think I have the best job in the world.

Match-predicting octopus retires

England’s second great World Cup success is to retire at the top of his game. Paul the Octopus, a common octopus who was born in Weymouth but now lives at the Oberhausen aquarium in western Germany, will not forecast any more football results, his keepers said, after the eight-legged oracle correctly chose the winners of eight games at the World Cup, including the victors of Sunday night’s final, Spain.

Newly discovered fossil revealed as the mother of modern-day molluscs

It looks like something out of a Salvador Dali dreamscape but this bizarre sea creature, which lived about 500 million years ago, turns out to have been the mother of all squids – indeed it is the ancestor of octopuses, cuttlefish and all other cephalopod molluscs.

DVD review: Tulpan (12)

Sergei Dvortsevoy (DVD/Blu-ray, 103 mins)

The truth is out there: 20/03/2010

A weekly look at the world

Racing: Musselburgh gives winter comfort

Scottish course optimistic of staging Friday meeting as signs of thaw increase

Snail, By Peter Williams

This enjoyable PR job for the mollusc by an Oxford GP reveals that Patricia Highsmith was always accompanied by her pet snails, usually in her handbag but "carefully positioned under each breast" when travelling abroad.

Independent launches new video service

The Independent has launched an enhanced UK video news offering following an innovative distribution deal with the Press Association and Octopus Media Technology.

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