The Polynesian rat is the third most widespread species of rat in the world behind the Brown rat and Black rat. Polynesian rats have large, round ears, a pointed snout, black/brown hair with a lighter belly, and comparatively small feet. They have thin, long bodies. Polynesian rats are commonly distinguished by a dark upper edge of the hind foot near the ankle. The rest of the foot is pale.
Polynesian rats are widespread throughout the Pacific and Southeast Asia. Thye inhabit many environments, from grasslands to forests and may be found in agricultural areas.
Polynesian rats are social creatures. They are nocturnal like most rodents, and are adept climbers, often nesting in trees. When foraging Polynesian rats have been observed to often take pieces of food back to a safe place to properly shell a seed or otherwise prepare certain foods. This not only protects them from predators, but also from rain and other rats. These "husking stations" are often found among trees, near the roots, in fissures of the trunk, and even in the top branches.
Little information is available about the mating system in Polynesian rats. They breed in spring and summer. Females give birth to 4 litters per year with and an average of 4 young per litter. The gestation period lasts 21-24 days and weaning takes around another month at 28 days. Young become reproductively mature at 8-12 months of age.
There are no major threats to Polynesian rats at present.
The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Polynesian rat total population size, but this animal is common and widespread throughout its known range. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.