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Ratmen are the rat equivalent of Lizard Folk: an entire race of intelligent anthropomorphic rodents or a single specimen thereof. They may be villainous creatures that live in filth and squalor, reproduce at a dizzying rate and worship foul deities, just another humanoid race with no particularly outstanding good or bad traits, or simply victims of an unwanted transformation. They may be (or descend from) rodents that developed humanoid features or humans that developed rodent features, whether through magic, science, radiation or natural selection.

Ratman supervillains often have either "rat" or "vermin" somewhere in their names. Ratman civilizations are sometimes given a quasi-Japanese flair or called "Nezumi," which is simply the Japanese word for mouse or rat; the proper Japanese translation for Ratmen would be "Nezumi-jin."

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Subtrope of Beast Man. Contrast Rodents of Unusual Size (where the rodents are huge but not necessarily humanoid or intelligent).

Note when adding examples: do not confuse ratmen with wererats: the latter are humans who can assume the form of a rat (or a giant rat, a human-rat hybrid, etc). Normal-sized rodents with human mannerisms do not count unless they are explicitly called out as abnormal in the fiction they appear. Refer to Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism for guidance.note 


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Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Ghost Rider: One of Ghost Rider's minor foes is the bipedal, flesh-eating rat creature Verminous Rex, the sole survivor of an entire race of such creatures that lived in the spaces between dimensional walls.
  • In Joe the Barbarian, the hero, a diabetic teenager trying to stave off death, hallucinates that his pet fancy rat is a noble Rat Man warrior who aids him on his Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane quest to defeat "Lord Death" and retrieve his insulin.
  • In Lori Lovecraft: The Dark Lady, the true form of the demon who attempts to pull a Grand Theft Me on Lori is a giant humanoid rat.
  • Seven Soldiers: The Klarion and Manhattan Guardian miniseries briefly feature a race of sentient, bipedal rats who dwell beneath New York City's subways. Since they're still the size of ordinary rats, Klarion's cat Teekl rather casually devours their king off-panel.
  • Snarfquest: One character is a human prince who was been transformed into a rat man by an evil wizard, and is seeking to be restored to normal.
  • The Spider-Man and Captain America villain Vermin is a human being mutated against his will into a cannibalistic, insane Rat Man.
  • Master Splinter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Depending on the continuity, he was either a normal rat or a Japanese ninja who was mutated into a ratman.
  • Tomb Of Terror #5: The Rat Man is a man who was resurrected into a giant rat by a life-restoring fluid. He is intelligent and can talk and use things, but is also evil.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dick Tracy: Itchy is portrayed in a manner that evokes this trope: small, pointed nose, slight overbite, and a nasal and occasionally squeaky voice.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Peter Jackson's BrainDead (aka Dead Alive in the States) the zombie plague is carried by the "Sumatran Rat-Monkey." It has as much in common with ratmen as monkeys do with human beings.
  • Harry Potter: Peter Pettigrew looks a lot like a rat even in his human form, which was probably an intentional choice from the filmmakers. Pettigrew, an animagus, spent years disguised as an actual rat.
  • Ratboy: The title character of is a mysterious hybrid of human and rat found in a dumpster by the female protagonist.
  • In The Ratman, a scientist creates a murderous humanoid rat creature named Mousey note  in hopes of getting a Nobel Peace Price.
  • In Rats: Night of Terror, the group of survivors gets decimated by common rats that seem to be driven from their underground habitat, making them extremely aggressive and dangerous. In the film's twist ending, it is revealed that intelligent mutant rat-humans are responsible.

    Literature 
  • From the New World: The bakenezumi ("queerats" or "monster rats" in translations) are bipedal rat people who live in warring colonies and serve only their respective queens, occasionally helping humanity out. However, there's a lot of Fantastic Racism going on, with the humans despising them and the bakenezumi eventually growing to resent the humans for lording their Psychic Powers over them. As it turns out, the bakenezumi were originally humans with no Psychic Powers, genetically engineered to mutate into rat-people in order to protect the psychics' oligarchy.
  • Garrett P.I.: Ratmen (and a genius ratgirl) play a part in the series. It seems the wizards of a few generations back had quite a fad for the creation of new sentient lifeforms, and they shared real-world scientists' preference for using rats as research subjects.
  • The German booklet series Maddrax has creatures called taratzes. The plot takes place in a world devastated by a comet impact, which has mutated plants and animals into monstrous creatures. The taratzes are over two meters tall, can walk upright, and are almost as intelligent as humans. Taratzes are much stronger, faster and more resistant than humans, and in addition, they are also predators that sometimes hunt humans.
  • The Rats in the Rats, Bats and Vats series by Dave Freer and Eric Flint are still rat-sized, but have human-like intelligence and use tools. Technically, they are not rats or even rodents, but genetically modified (including some rat gene-splicing) and cybernetically uplifted elephant shrews. Everyone (including themselves) call them rats, though.
  • In Ratman's Notebooks, the unnamed Villain Protagonist dons a rat mask when he and his trained rodents go out robbing houses by night. Chance witnesses who catch a glimpse of him start rumors that an actual rat-headed mutant is on the loose.
  • Nom in Time Out Of Time is very rat-like in appearance (in fact, he'd actually been transformed into a rat by Balor when Timothy freed him), and knows a lot about how rats think.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Grimm has Reinigen, a race of rat-like Wesen.

    Myths and Religion 
  • Japanese folklore gives the tale of Raigo the Rat, based on a historical figure from the 11th century. The emperor broke a promise to him and he used black magic so that, when he dies, he will come back as a giant rat, with a rat army to eat valuable scrolls.
  • There is an urban legend about a girl who threw the Koran at her mother and was turned into a rat girl by Allah. This is accompanied by a picture, meant to "prove" the story as real, of the creature the girl had become, which was in fact that of a human-rat hybrid sculpture, orginally part of an art exhibit titled "Leather Landscape", by Patricia Piccinini.
  • In the town of Southend-on-Sea, in England, there is a local legend about a ghostly Rat-Man living in a tunnel. The story goes that an old tramp lived there until a group of teenagers found him, beat him, and left him to die. His spirit now appears there, looking just like the rats who nibbled at his body.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Apocalypse Prevention Inc: In the second edition, one of the new playable demon species is the Vermen, who subvert all the tropes associated with this kind of creature except for the Explosive Breeder part. Even if they are one of the nicest no-human species in the setting and their technological abilities are greatly apreciated, there is some Fantastic Racism against them due to their physical similarity to the servants of the Rat Queen, the ones responsible for the Black Plague, and because they still look like rats.
  • Some third-party d20 supplements have included varieties of ratmen, such as Aradan (from AEG's Mercenaries), Cavian (from Races of NeoExodus) and Ikrikit (from Masterwork Monsters: Rats in the Walls)
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In the third-party campaign setting Scarred Lands, the Ratmen (expies of the Skaven) are rats that became intelligent humanoids by consuming the flesh of the fallen Titans. Some of them have been further mutated, developing special powers related to the Titan they are descended from.
    • In the third-party campaign setting Ptolus, rat people are divided by size into the halfling-sized ratlings, the human-sized ratlords, and the ogre-sized ratbrutes.
  • Magic: The Gathering has the Nezumi Rat Men from the plane of Kamigawa, a race of Black mana-aligned rat man Ninjas. They usually live in swamps or on the outskirts of human cities, which they often raid, and some of their shamans can summon and control swarms of insects, tying into this trope's association with vermin. Notably, though the cards mostly depict them as thieves and mobsters, several characters are sympathetic in the novels and later stories, with the destruction of one of their villages by the planeswalker Tezzeret being treated as an atrocity.
  • Legend of the Five Rings also has a race of rat-men called the Nezumi in it. Alongside the naga, they're the only non-human race in the setting that isn't hostile towards humanity.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Ratfolk are halfling-sized, highly social, and good at tinkering. Many of them are Intrepid Merchants. For the most part, they are portrayed fairly sympathetically — most of them are neutral in alignment, and they can be player characters — but some of their racial options, like the Plague Bringer alchemist, have more of a Skaven feel.
    • In Starfinder, the ratfolk, under the name ysokinote , are one of the standard player races, known for their love of tinkering and their great adaptability.
  • Small World has Rat Men as one of the races. Unlike the other races, they have no special abilities, as they have reserves.
  • In Warhammer Fantasy, the Skaven are a race of ratmen that live in squalor and may be something of a Trope Codifier, having inspired numerous imitators in tabletop gaming. They are the most numerous race in the setting and have advanced Magitek equipment (like ratling guns and doomwheels) and would have taken it over long ago if their entire culture wasn't based on Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. One of the best known traits of the Skaven is that they don't exist. Within the Empire their existence is officially denied, though whether or not anyone believes this varies between stories. The Skaven maintain the secret because although they massively outnumber humanity they are so paranoid and cowardly none want to risk it. The Empire keeps them a secret because the leadership fears that letting people know that a vast malevolent civilization lives under their feet would cause panic.
  • Wicked Fantasy has the Rodden, who appear as giant humanoid rats and have a culture reminiscent of The Mafia.

    Video Games 
  • BioShock: In the very early development of the game, the role of the Harvesters were originally played by small rodent-men similar to chipmunks or ground squirrels who wore baggy rags and carried around backpacks of supplies to pump fluids from corpses. This idea is later revisited in There's Something in the Sea, where the story of Rapture is changed to a science fiction story.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, there are actually two species of rat men:
    • Rodent men, described as having a rat-like appearance, are one of the primitive underground-dwelling Beast Man races, forming crude encampments and fighting with spears and blow-darts.
    • Rat men are one of the numerous above-ground humanoid beasts, and as such do not technically count as a full intelligent race in-game and for the most part behave like normal animals unless "adopted" by a preexisting culture.
  • In Enter the Gungeon, the Resourceful Rat is one of these.
  • Final Fantasy IX: The Burmecian and Cleyran races, to which your dragoon Freya belongs, are anthropomorphic rats. They avoid the stereotypes normally associated with this trope, instead being portrayed as a peaceful and civilized race.
  • Guild Wars 2: The Skritt are generally regarded as pests by the more advanced races of Tyria due to their attraction to anything shiny and tendency to run off with said shinies. Skritt are individually weak and not particularly bright, but they share a pseudo-hivemind of sorts thanks to their constant ultrasonic chittering which makes large groups of them capable of surprising feats of intellect (such as outsmarting the Asura, the resident Insufferable Genius race).
  • Inherit the Earth: The Rat Tribe is the resident Proud Scholar Race of the setting. Their underground complex is part library and part monastery, all built into what looks like an old sewer system.
  • Legend of Grimrock II has the Ratmen, both as a playable race and as NPC enemies (with a distinct piratical theme). They start out with fewer total stat points than other races, but they can gain random permanent stat bonuses from eating cheese and can take a trait that will grant them a random stat increase at each levelup.
  • Majesty and other games set in Ardania (like Warlock: Master Of The Arcane) has Ratmen living in the sewers under pretty much every settlement. Unlike the Skaven they resemble, they're almost always Played for Laughs. (Their main reason for raiding the surface is an obsession with cheese, for example...)
  • In Piratez there are the Rat People, an in-universe urban legend. Not to be confused with Ratmen, who are just a short and mischievous — and very real — variation of humans.
  • Shining Force II: Slade the Thief is a human-sized anthropomorphic rat.
  • Titan Quest: Ratmen are found in all the three first acts of the game. They favor poisonous attacks.
  • In Warcraft, Kobolds are a race of ratmen miners that live in Kalimdor. They are low-level neutral monsters, though they can be annoying in large numbers.

    Web Original 
  • The Legatum series has murids, which are scruffy, humanoid rat creatures who can talk and wear clothing like humans do.

     Western Animation 
  • Batman Beyond: In one episode, the villain Shriek's lab assistant is apparently a teenaged Splicer who has given himself rat traits.
  • The Captain Planet villain Verminus Skumm is a particularly anthropomorphic variation on this, resembling a man with ratlike hands, feet, and a rat tail. Apparently he was created to represent the effects of urbanization and pollution on biodiversity. A few episodes show Skumm with Ratmen Mooks and one episode showed he had a disease called "rat rot" which turned people into rat men.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: The Recurring Character Charlie the Mouse is a humanoid, overweight rat-man (despite his name, he looks more like a rat than a mouse) with a bad attitude (and a Brooklyn accent, no less), and an anchor tattoo on his arm who likes to eat rancid cheese. He may look as scary as most other monsters on the show, but he's actually a rather charitable guy who has helped Courage more than once.
  • Futurama: In "A Bicyclops Built for Two", Rat Man and his girlfriend are a slovenly, sleazy pair of rat people and apparently close associates of the equally sleazy Alcazar.
  • Gary the Rat: The titular character wasned into one of these as a result of a Karmic Transformation.
  • Invader Zim:
    • In "Game Slave 2", Dib stumbles across a group of "horrible rat people" living in a parking garage. They were originally normal people who became permanently lost in the parking garage and now live by scavenging, and this somehow mutated them into rat people. They don't look very much like rats, and Dib is skeptical that they've turned into actual rat people.
    • Invader Zim also has the slaughtering rat people of planet Blorch, who resemble rats much more closely.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    • Splinter is a pet rat who was mutated into a four foot rat-man, or a man who mutated into a rat-man, depending on the series.
    • Rat King is a recurring villain who controls the vermin of New York and lives in the sewers. He seems human in at least appearance, however. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), the Rat King was convinced he was a humanoid rat despite being an ordinary human.
  • Both versions of Thunder Cats had Ratar-O, a leader among the Mutants. The 2011 version expanded his role as a ruler of similar mouse and rat humanoids.
  • Rattrap, of Transformers: Beast Wars and Beast Machines, transforms into a giant rat, a choice influenced by Transformation Conventions. While not the genuine article, his personality is such that he might as well be, and he certainly seems to think of himself as one.
    Rat... robot. Rat... robot. I'm a robot and a rat! Yeah, I like it!


Alternative Title(s): Rat People, Rat Folk, Nezumi

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