After creating my version of fantasy slimes (please see this and this for more on them, they're called Plops) I realized a problem with their basic physiology.
That is because in medieval times (and the past in general), hygiene really wasn't a thing. People would just dump their garbage in the streets, and dirt and filth was just about everywhere. Plops, being common monsters (like rats or cockroaches), and eat just about anything; filth, refuse, unattended children.
Most Plops are the size of a pot of spaghetti, but if they eat something large enough to distend their body, their natural magic causes them to absorb the extra mass. In other words, if a Plop eats something bigger than they are (like a basketball or a small child, they can't distend enough to consume something like a beanbag whole) they'll end up growing. The size increase is proportional to the additional size and mass of the object compared to the Plop.
This size increase does not occur all at once, it occurs as the Plop digests. Dirt and dust particles, along with most slime and grime, is digested near-instantly. However, any large solid object takes longer, but not by much; it would take five minutes for a Plop to digest its weight's worth in banana peels and (I'm guessing here) about thirty minutes for a Plop to digest the typical four-or-five-year-old.
So, obviously, something must be done to protect people from these monsters, but how? Thus, my question is: How Can Medieval Villagers Protect Themselves From Plops?
Context and Clarification:
- By medieval, I mean Europe from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the Renaissance. This should give you an idea of what the villages will be like.
- Plops are not sentient, they are relatively primitive (primitive compared to us). They can figure out that humans are reliable sources of food, that one can ooze through doorframes and cracks in the walls to enter human homes or pantries (did they have pantries in medieval times?), so basically octopus-level intelligence.
- Plops are capable of climbing walls and ceilings, but not smooth surfaces like pottery or (modern) glass. Trees and bricks, however, are fair game. They also avoid extreme temperatures (for obvious reasons). They move about as fast as a sped-up slug; they can keep pace with and catch up to a speed-walking human but not someone running.
- Plop can only grow to the size of a minivan, and when their population gets really high, they balance it out by eating each other (they aren't picky, so while this doesn't happen all the time, it does happen often). They reproduce abundantly when there is ample food (AKA garbage), which there is in medieval villages, so it's sort of like rats in NYC.
- Due to magic, monsters like Plop "spawn" regularly, so you can't just kill them all and be done. You have to deal with them.
- My question is asking about methods that would A) prevent humans from being swarmed and overwhelmed by hordes of Plop on the streets (yes, there are that many, they're like rats) and B) would keep Plop away from children, food, and sleeping individuals. Basically, making life bearable because living among swarms of gooey, rubbery slimes that can and will eat you, your cat, and your kids is kind of difficult.
- I'm specifically looking for: repulsion methods, to keep the Plops away from people; offensive methods, to lower the Plop numbers; and strategic methods to lessen the danger of being attacked or eaten by Plop. These methods should not be magical, as the typical medieval villager (in my setting) does not have access to magic. More specifically, I'm asking how the villagers can make themselves as safe as possible from Plops.
Criteria for Best Answer:
- The best answer will include active and passive methods; methods that require human action to work and others that work without interference. I count behavioral patterns as active methods.
- The best answer will thoroughly cover multiple viable methods and explain why they'd work.
- Said methods should be viable for medieval villagers, something they can actually come up with and produce. That being said, human ingenuity is quite something, so I'm willing to be lenient on this one.
As always, I appreciate your input and feedback, please let me know if there are any problems, and if you decide to VTC or downvote, please give me an explanation so I can improve the question. You have my sincere thanks.