[[quoteright:320:[[Disney/TheRescuers http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mice1_2084.jpg]]]]

->''"For behind the wooden wainscots of all the old houses of Gloucester, there are little mouse staircases and secret trap-doors; and the mice run from house to house through those long narrow passages; they can run all over the town without going into the streets."''
-->-- '''''[[Creator/BeatrixPotter The Tailor of Gloucester]]'''''

Similar in many ways to BeneathTheEarth, MouseWorld exists in secret on the fringes of human society; the difference is scale. This is an entire class of stories built around tiny protagonists operating just out of sight in the human world. These come in a few flavors, but all share some important common elements. In any case, the lives of the little folk draw eerie parallels to the lives of the big-folk.

In an urban setting, the characters most often act like rats, even when they aren't actual {{Talking Animal}}s in the 3- to 6-inch range. They live in {{Mouse Hole}}s using adapted or cobbled-together materials made from human trash with the odd toys and models thrown in usually making it ScavengedPunk.

If they deal with human opponents directly, expect clever trickery, stealth and the odd ColossusClimb. They may become DinkyDrivers to operate human vehicles. If humans aren't aware of them in the slightest (as in most cases), it's usually because they either have a strong WeirdnessCensor, the tiny species is keeping a complex and clever [[TheMasquerade masquerade]], or they simply regard talking and/or clothed {{Funny Animal}}s or tiny humanoids as an UnusuallyUninterestingSight. In some cases one lucky human ([[ChildrenAreSpecial usually a child]]) SpeaksFluentAnimal and is the only human character in the story aware of the tiny species. In combination with an IncredibleShrinkingMan, you can have a TrappedInAnotherWorld plot. Other slightly larger animals such as cats and dogs may also play a role in this world, but expect AnimalJingoism to come into play, along with examples of CatsAreMean.

May have begun with the Lilliputians, and later Gulliver's time with the Brobdignagian giants, in ''Literature/GulliversTravels'' by Jonathan Swift. The best-known recent version is probably ''Literature/TheBorrowers'' books.

Not to be confused with the DisneyThemeParks. If you're looking for little people who don't necessarily live in one of these worlds, head over to {{Lilliputians}}.
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!!!Examples:

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[[folder:General]]
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[[folder: Literature ]]

* There is a weirdly humanlike monkey society in ''Literature/TheJungleBook'', but they do not act humanlike around any person other than Mowgli.
** The animals in general only act humanlike toward Mowgli.
* In {{Incarceron}} [[spoiler: anyone who enters the Prison is shrunk down to fit into it. Said Prison is, in fact, a silver cube set on the Warden's pcketwatch.]]

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[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]

* ''TheFarSide'' loves this trope. There have been cartoons featuring rodents, fish, arthropods and even microbes whose behaviour mirrors (and of course satirises) that of humans.

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}}'', its sequel, and ''WesternAnimation/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar''
* The dogs in ''WesternAnimation/AllDogsGoToHeaven'' have a whole culture with gambling casinos and all.
* ''WesternAnimation/FatherOfThePride''
* ''Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians: The Series''
* ''WesternAnimation/KryptoTheSuperdog''
* ''{{Rango}}''
* The island of Namboombu from ''BedknobsandBroomsticks''.
* The animals in the first ''IceAge'' film, and ''only'' in the first film. The sequels actually changed this so that they are now the ''only'' inhabitants of Earth.
* The forest in ''WesternAnimation/{{Epic}}'' . Bonus points for an actual mouse showing up.
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[[folder:Rodents]]
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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''Anime/{{Hamtaro}}''

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* ''MouseGuard''

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[[folder: Film ]]

* The scene in ''Film/MouseHunt'' in which the mouse's room is shown, consisting of a postcard as a poster and a little bed made up of a tin box and cotton balls.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''StuartLittle''
* The young adult ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents''
* Played quite straight in the novel ''ThePrinceOfDarkness'', about a Rat-Machiavelli eventually being overthrown by a communist revolution...
* ChinaMieville's ''Literature/KingRat'' plays this with gritty realism. Organized rats are real city rats living in the sewers.
* ''The Deptford Mice'' books by Robin Jarvis.
* ''Literature/TheTaleOfDespereaux'' has one for mice (the TropeNamer) and one for rats.
* The ''{{Redwall}}'' books started out with a few elements of this, which were later {{Ret Con}}ned away.
** The most obvious example of this is the horse and human-sized cart Cluny and his horde first show up in. Horses are never seen again in the series. Then there's the stampede of cows through a village, a dog, and an abandoned barn.
** There's also St. Ninian's church, which was burned down in ''Pearls of Lutra'', and a mention of the ([[CaptainObvious human]]) country of Portugal in the first book.
* ''Firmin'' by Sam Savage is a novel about a rat who lives in a bookstore and is a consumer of great literature (literally -- he finds it quite tasty).
* ''AngelinaBallerina''
* The ''Christopher Churchmouse'' series of biblically-oriented short stories, written by a Barbra Davoll, is set in a church where mice live much the same lives that humans do in secret, even including attending the preacher's sermons.
* Margery Sharp's ''Literature/TheRescuers'' series, source material for the two DisneyAnimatedCanon films.
* ''GeronimoStilton''
* In the book, ''House of Tribes''. It shows life entirely from the perspective of rodents. It is a very well done example, that fits this trope to the T.

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[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* The BurningWheel-[[http://www.burningwheel.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?41-Mouse-Guard-RPG based]] ''MouseGuard'' game.
* Big Ears, Small Mouse, a supplement for Big Eyes, Small Mouth.

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'', although one not exclusive to rodents. Dogs, cats, arthropods, fish, birds, and pretty much every other sort of animal is an active part of the MouseWorld.
* ''WesternAnimation/CapitolCritters''
* ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail'', films and series. Theirs comes complete with animal {{Expy}}s of actual human historical figures, and the mice themselves are essentially metaphors for [[FantasticRacism oppressed minorities]].
* ''Disney/TheGreatMouseDetective'' (which was based on a series of books by Eve Titus, ''Literature/BasilOfBakerStreet'')
** Exaggerated in that while set in London, the mouse version of London is almost exactly the same as the human, without BambooTechnology. They have clockwork, ''guns'', functioning cabarets and (bizarrely) even Queen Mousetoria, who's an identical mouse version of Queen Victoria. Also, living directly under SherlockHolmes' house is Basil, a mouse who's an amazingly clear if Disney-fied {{Expy}} of Holmes himself.
* ''Disney/TheRescuers'' and ''TheRescuersDownUnder'', two animated Disney features based on [[Literature/TheRescuers the aforementioned series of books]] by Margery Sharp.
** And ''Disney/{{Cinderella}}'''s mouse-friends, though not the center of the story, have significantly adapted the house so they can move about freely inside it.
* The novel ''Literature/MrsFrisbyAndTheRatsOfNIMH'', or TheFilmOfTheBook ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretOfNIMH''.
** The movie took it far further, though; the mice have tables, chairs, a bed, separate rooms and curtains in the doorways of their home, whereas in the original, it was just a two-opening cinderblock.
** The novel (and the later sequels) ''did'' state that the Rats of NIMH had made their tunnels surprisingly human-like (and it only got more so, after they moved to the valley, including a statue of one of the rats who died near the end of the first book). ''Racso'' even has some of the younger rats figuring out how to make ''candy''. And Mrs. Frisby was married to [[spoiler: one of the mice from NIMH. So her husband might have been partial to human-like amenities, and Mrs. Frisby humoured him.]]
* The computer-animated film ''WesternAnimation/FlushedAway''
* ''WesternAnimation/DangerMouse'', although the scale is not kept consistent.
* Played quite realistically in the DisneyAnimatedCanon film ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}'', where the most BambooTechnology utilized by the rats is their musical instruments. Other than that, they're quadruped rodents. Remy, who engages in more humanlike behavior like walking on his hind legs and reading, is considered an oddity by the others.
** Also used, of course, in VideoBrinquedo's [[TheMockbuster Mockbuster]] of this movie, ''Animation/{{Ratatoing}}''.
* ''WesternAnimation/OnceUponAForest'', though it takes place mostly in the wilderness where humans are seen as [[HumansAreCthulhu mythical, frightening and destructive monsters]], the WoodlandCreatures encounter with 'the yellow dragons', aka construction equipment, as well as other human inventions such as streets and animal traps qualifies it. They also live in houses built into trees.
* Most ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' and ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerryTales'' cartoons and episodes.
* Most of ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'' is set in a "normal" human world; however, the episode "The Third Mouse" (a parody of ''Film/TheThirdMan'') is set inexplicably in a 1940's MouseWorld.
** The episode "When Mice Ruled the Earth" has Pinky and the Brain trying to create one of these, and succeeding at the end. Unfortunately, [[spoiler:all the mice look and act like Pinky]].
--> '''Brain:''' Quickly, Pinky! We must return to the past! I must change it all back again!
* The [[RankinBassProductions Rankin/Bass]] special ''TwasTheNightBeforeChristmas'' involves a family of mice living with the family of a human clockmaker. Unusually for the trope, the human is not only aware of his counterpart's existence but actually interacts and works with him.
* One episode of the second season of ''WesternAnimation/FlashGordon'' establishes that, along with all the other animal-themed races on Mongo, there is a race called the Mouse Folk, who are ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin.

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[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Pet supply companies put out a variety of toys for rodents that emulate this trope, such as hamster-sized plastic cars or model huts made of gnaw-friendly materials.
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[[folder:Small Creatures]]
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[[folder: Comics ]]

* Professor Schimauski by German artist Creator/WalterMoers discovered that his toaster actually worked because there's [[OurDragonsAreDifferent a little dragon]] living in it.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''WatershipDown'', except they live in a rural setting.
* ''TheMouseAndHisChild'' includes both small creatures and non-living things.
* ''TheWindInTheWillows'' sort of waffles between this and the typical cartoon-animal approach. Sometimes the small animals seem to be the correct size, but sometimes they interact with [[FurryConfusion scaled-down horses and other such non-anthropomorphic animals that really ought to be a lot bigger]]
* In ''{{Redwall}}'', animals live in a medieval sort of world, and they do have tables, ovens, swords, clothing, etc. They don't live in a realistic way, it's very humanlike. However, they do retain characteristics of being animals... moles are good at digging, squirrels are champion climbers, otters are naturals at swimming, some animals are mentioned as being carnivorous (most animals in the series eat only fish and eggs, as far as non-plants go).
* The mock epic ''Literature/{{Batrachomyomachia}}'' makes this OlderThanFeudalism: it parodies epics like ''Literature/TheIliad'' by replacing the heroic figures with warrior mice and frogs, fighting each other complete with miniature armor and weapons.

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[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* ''Series/FraggleRock'' has a wide range of scales to it, but includes a limited interaction between the little Fraggles and the big "Doc", as well as between Uncle Travelling Matt and the [[HumansByAnyOtherName Silly Creatures]] [[HumansThroughAlienEyes from Outer Space]].
* ''TheWombles''

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/LittlestPetShop1995'' features a multispecies cast of miniature animals.
* In ''WesternAnimation/GayPurree'', there is a cat society existing alongside humans (including a Mewlon Rouge next to its famous counterpart) which no one seems to notice. It seems to be an accepted fact that cats can hold money, however.
* Most ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' and ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerryTales'' cartoons and episodes.
* The alley cats in ''Disney/TheAristocats''.
* The penguins in ''WesternAnimation/ThePebbleAndThePenguin''
* The birds from ''WesternAnimation/{{Rio}}''.
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[[folder:Fish and Sea Creatures]]
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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* The merpeople and fish in ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid''
* ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo''
* ''WesternAnimation/SharkTale''
* ''FishHooks''
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants''

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* The Snorks are a [[FrancoBelgianComics French-language]] comic featuring rockpool-based Smurf ripoffs.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Small Humanoids]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''[[TheBorrowerArrietty The Secret World of Arrietty]]'', StudioGhibli's film adaptation of ''Literature/TheBorrowers''
* ''TheLittlBits''
* ''KabuNoIsaki'' by [[Manga/YokohamaKaidashiKikou Hitoshi Ashinano]]. The story is set in a world where everything except humans is 10 times larger (in ''linear'' size), but apparently the Earth surface gravity force is ''not'' 10 times stronger. Result: Japan appears huge and sparsely populated, humans are piloting what looks like toy airplanes, landing on fuki (butterbur) leaves and such.
** There is also an old one-shot called Kuma-bachi no Koto ("something about carpenter-bees") by Ashinano in which small humanoid(s) and standard-size people co-exist.
* ''Anime/BusouShinki''. Humans are perfectly aware of the sentient girl-shaped toys equipped with lethal weapons, but it's not regarded as something special. There ''is'' a [[WretchedHive fringe Shinki society]] that few know of, however.

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[[folder: Fanfiction ]]

* The Psyches and their city-village Psychelia from ''Fanfic/EmpathTheLuckiestSmurf''.

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[[folder: Film ]]

* The Polish film ''Kingsajz'' is set in such a world, inhabited by gnomes. The title is a phonetic rendition of "king size", here a normal human's size which can be temporarily achieved through a magic potion.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''TheLittles''
* ''Literature/TheBorrowers''
* Terry Pratchett's Nac Mac Feegle (aka the Pictsies) in ''Wee Free Men'' and other ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' books. His earlier children's books, ''TheCarpetPeople'' and ''[[Literature/NomesTrilogy The Bromeliad Trilogy]]'' (''Truckers'', ''Diggers'', and ''Wings'') are a more obvious example.
* Michael de Larrabeiti's [[http://www.theborribles.co.uk/ Borribles]] and their enemies the Rumbles are a bit bigger than the usual MouseWorld inhabitants, but otherwise seem to fit the trope nicely.
* ''MistressMashamsRepose''
* The Gallivespians in ''HisDarkMaterials''
* Possibly the tiniest example is the Protozoan World of the microscopic people in the short story "Surface Tension". Just barely qualifies as interacting with the macro-scale human world, due to the etched metal documents left behind for them.
* A classic of British fantasy literature, ''The Little Grey Men'' features four gnomes who presumably had a MouseWorld culture once, but now are the LastOfTheirKind.

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[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* ''Series/LandOfTheGiants'' (Inversion: regular humans trapped in a world filled with -- guess what -- giants.)

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheMinishCap''.
* ''VideoGame/MarioParty DS''.
* ''MushroomMen''
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'': Tozas
* ''{{Pikmin}}'' from Olimar's point of view, although only on the Distant Planet. His home world is just right for the dominant race's size.

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''TheSmurfs'' Originally a Belgian comic.
* ''TheWorldOfDavidTheGnome''
* ''The Little Twins''
* ''The Wisdom of the Gnomes''.
* ''TeamUmizoomi'' , depending on the episode.
** Mostly a subversion, since the humans interact with the team.
* 80s SaturdayMorningCartoon ''The Trollkins'' which managed to combine ''TheSmurfs'' with ''TheDukesOfHazzard.'' No, seriously.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Mr Bogus}}''
* Oms (humans trapped in a land of giants) in ''FantasticPlanet''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Insects and Arachnids]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Anime ]]

* ''TwilightOfTheCockroaches''
* ''[[Manga/{{Gokicha}} Gokicha!! Cockroach Girls]]''

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Junkville, the setting of a series of Disney comic books starring Bucky Bug.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''A Rustle in the Grass'' by Robin Hawdon is a novel about ants told in a HeroicFantasy style.
* ''TheAntBully''
* ''The City Under the Back Steps'' by Evelyn Sibley Lampman, in which two children are shrunk down to ant size and have adventures in/with an ant colony

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''[[Literature/MayaTheBee The Adventures of Maya the Bee]]''
* ''WesternAnimation/ABugsLife''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Antz}}''
* ''MrBugGoesToTown'', a feature-length Fleischer cartoon.
* ''BeeMovie''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBuzzOnMaggie'', short-lived Disney show about a teenage fly.
* ''MissSpidersSunnyPatchFriends''
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[[folder:Sapient Nonliving Things]]
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[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''The Doll People'' features dolls that take an oath upon being made which allows them to keep their sapience. Oddly, Barbie dolls are not alive, although fictional brands of dolls are.
** Barbies could be alive. For some reason, they mostly choose not to take the oath.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop RPG ]]

* ''[[PlueschPowerUndPlunder Plüsch, Power & Plunder]]'' is a German game about [[LivingToys sapient, living]] [[EverythingsBetterWithPlushies plushies]] who have to keep up the {{Masquerade}} from the [[HumansThroughAlienEyes "tramplers"]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory''
* The tiny stitchpunks of ''WesternAnimation/{{Nine}}'' live in a [[ScavengerWorld Scavenger]] MouseWorld AfterTheEnd. Noticing everything they've used for their technology, such as a sextant for a telescope, is a lot of fun.
* ''TheBraveLittleToaster''
* ''OzzyAndDrix'' (technically, body cells are living things, but not in its everyday sense.)
* ''Literature/TheVelveteenRabbit''
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