Kiore are found in nearly all habitats, but don't like living near other types of rat.
Kiore are found in nearly all habitats from urban areas to native bush including coastal regions, grasslands, wetlands. In Hawaii they are a major pest of sugar cane plantation where they use their teeth to chisel open the stems to drink the sap. In the Philipines they are found in rice paddys. They are much better climbers than Norway rats but are not good swimmers. They are found in all island groups that the Polynesian people reached, but not necessarily on all islands of each group.
They do not easily co-exist with othe species of rat, and it has been reported that they will not take bait from bait stations previously used by Norway rats
They are mainly nocturnal, but when they become overpopulated in an area become active in the late afternoon.