Winterwatch viewers devastated as fan-favourite show mascot possibly 'ripped to death' by birds of prey

WINTERWATCH viewers were left gobsmacked on last night’s episode of the BBC show when presenter Chris Packham described a rat being torn to shreds. 

Chris, 60, and Michaela Strachan, 55, returned on Thursday with another Winterwatch live, inviting viewers into the lives of animals at Norfolk’s Wild Ken Hill. 

However, not long into the episode, viewers got more than they bargained for when Chris brought up Ray the rat. 

Viewers were desperate to know if the rodent had survived the night, but the presenter hinted at some tragic news. 

The naturalist introduced the programme, explaining that Ray could have been “ripped apart” and reciting a poem about the little creature. 

He said: "As the realm of daylight snores and sleeps, at the water's edge something rusty creeps. 

"Long of tail, reputation foul, it's the brazen rat called Ray. Life is full of rats right now which may explain just how we've taken this rodent to heart. 

"And asks, has he been ripped apart or has he survived another day?"

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Some viewers were rat-tled by the recital and raced to Twitter in horror, with one writing: "Oh Mr rat ohh Chris please don’t tell me HE’S BEEN RIPPED APART”.

"Emotion overload and we are only 5 minutes in”, a second said. 

A third added: "Sympathy to anyone eating spaghetti at the moment the tawny owl downed that mouse”.

"Oh, Ray. My Red heart skipped a beat. I’m absolutely Team Owl but now Ray is a celebrity. I kinda want him to make it to next Friday at least”, a fourth penned. 

And a fifth lamented: "I feel sad for Ray the Rat”.

But what was poor Ray’s fate? Did he make it through the night or was he torn to shreds after all?

Chris announced: "You want to know whether Ray the rat has survived another night. Let's have a look and go down to the river and see if we can spot Ray”. 

The presenter continued to note he hadn’t spotted the rat by the river but had clocked a tawny owl who definitely had its eyes on something – was it Ray, though?

"The owl sizes up, swoops and kills”, Chris said dramatically before Michaela added: "I know the nation is holding its breath. The anticipation. There is only one way to see if Ray is still with us”.

Live footage kicked in, with Michaela declaring: "Look at the tail, it doesn't have a kink, it's not Ray! He has survived to live another night and another day”. 

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