Beginning last Monday, thousands of people across the world were transfixed by a raccoon who took 20 hours to climb to the top of the 25-story UBS building in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The saga began on Monday, when the raccoon was spotted in a shallow recess of a wall on a Town Square building, just a few stories off the ground, where it huddled all day and night without food or water.
A maintenance crew tried to help the raccoon by offering it a makeshift ladder. But the kind gesture simply scared the animal to flee to a second building and finally to the UBS skyscraper, it began its death-defying climb.
By Tuesday afternoon, local coverage of the climb trended on Twitter with #mprraccoon, and the world began rooting for the little guy. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn even tweeted he would donate $1,000 to help rescue the raccoon. St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter tweeted that his office was working on a solution with the building’s owners.
St. Paul’s Department of Safety and Inspections spokeswoman Laurie Brickley told the Star Tribune, “The best thing is to leave him alone” because an attempted rescue was what had spooked the raccoon in the first place.
Animal control workers set cat food and live traps on the tower’s roof, believing that would be the safest option for capture and bring the critter down to safety. Windows on the building do not open.
By Tuesday evening, the raccoon had climbed to the 23rd floor. Around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, live feeds showed the raccoon had reached the roof, and was captured in a live trap.
Rescuers plan to release the raccoon to safety, hopefully far away from any tall buildings.
John Erb, a wildlife research scientist with the state’s Department of Natural resources, said the raccoon likely had been chased or scared. Erb explains that raccoons’ long, strong claws make them pretty good climbers: “They have long fingers and a lot of dexterity for grabbing hold of things.” he told the newspaper.