The title I remember is "The Rat Race" but Google has not been helpful in finding it so that may be wrong. I recall reading it in the 1970's, probably a novel.

Setting begins in or around a research facility, where rats and mice are experimented on for some kind of make you smarter drug, at first the mice and rats excel at the tests, then quite suddenly they stop improving (and maybe regress). When they got smart enough to realize what was going on they started failing the tests on purpose, then they managed to escape.

They set up some underground housing, wire in electricity (and maybe running water). As I recall the majority of the book was the challenges they faced after escaping.

Definitely not Ninja Turtles, I read the book before the Ninja Turtles existed (or before they where popular enough to gain my notice)


That would be Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien, a 1971 children's novel. The rats, once escaped from the research facility called NIMH, settle under a rose bush in the field of a farmer. They steal the farmer's electricity and food, and eventually the fact that their mere existence depends on the farmer and thievery, they decide to leave the farm and their technologically advanced subterranean society. There are also two sequels written by O'Brien's daughter, focusing on the rat's new colony which is not underground but in a valley away from humans and is based solely upon agriculture and learning.

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    "The Rat Race" is a book that Nicodemus mentions within the Secret of NIMH, which is probably why that title sticks out in his head. – Satanicpuppy Oct 7 '13 at 20:37

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