How An Anxious, Lost Raccoon Conquered A Minnesota Skyscraper — And Our Hearts

a brown bear walking across a grass covered field: A distant cousin, perhaps. © Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images A distant cousin, perhaps.

The internet sensation of the past 24 hours, explained.

Every once in a while, a story comes around that reminds us of the sheer power of grit and determination. This time, it is a raccoon who climbed a UBS Plaza building in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The saga of MPR Raccoon — or #mprraccoon as it became famously known on Twitter — began when people spotted a lonely raccoon stuck on the ledge of a building in downtown St. Paul, including employees of Minnesota Public Radio, who carefully documented his plight.

This poor raccoon apparently got itself stranded on a ledge of the Town Square office building in downtown St. Paul, likely on an errant mission to raid pigeon nests on the skyway over 7th Street. It's been there for two days now, without food or water. @mprnewspic.twitter.com/fVI5pmdCWq

— Tim Nelson (@timnelson_mpr) June 12, 2018

Tim Nelson, a reporter at MPR, said the building’s maintenance workers had tried to rescue the raccoon by building a makeshift ladder to try to lure the raccoon back down to the ground.

He made a run for it! Still stuck though. pic.twitter.com/8Z7KTK8K1y

— Evan Frost (@efrostee) June 12, 2018

It did not work. Instead, the raccoon fled to a neighboring building — the 25-story UBS Plaza — and, in a high-stakes gambit, began scaling the side of the concrete tower with his little raccoon paws.

I don't know if I can watch this much longer. The #mprraccoon is scaling the UBS Tower. Now 12 stories up. pic.twitter.com/MaP35MLo9j

— Tim Nelson (@timnelson_mpr) June 12, 2018

My picture from the 13th floor around noon. Hope he makes it down OK! #mprraccoonpic.twitter.com/gfVWysn9iO

— Ben (@Johnson88Ben) June 12, 2018

The raccoon made it about 20 stories, according to the New York Times, though it took a break along the way to stretch out and take in the views of downtown St. Paul.

Oh nothing just a raccoon hanging out on the 22nd floor of UBS Plaza downtown. pic.twitter.com/XaXE9XExxD

— Tad Vezner (@SPnoir) June 12, 2018

The #mprraccoon has arisen from his nap and is climbing again. pic.twitter.com/K1popKu2bF

— Tim Nelson (@timnelson_mpr) June 12, 2018

Making moves! #mprraccoonpic.twitter.com/KLyGQymmfq

— Evan Frost (@efrostee) June 12, 2018

The raccoon reportedly settled on the 23rd floor sometime late Tuesday afternoon for a nap. Animal control officials put food and a trap on the roof in hopes of enticing the raccoon a few stories up, according to MPR.

But otherwise, the raccoon just relaxed, impervious (or maybe all too aware?) of the humans worried about the fate of a woodland creature best known for breaking into trash cans and having rabies. The hashtag #mprraccoon began trending on Twitter and parody accounts popped up. A local CBS affiliate set up a live-stream, according to the Washington Post.

He is on the ledge on our floor. He seems to be doing well. We’ve been told that the building has live traps on the roof and are trying to get him to go up there. We all just have to keep our fingers crossed.. #mprraccoonpic.twitter.com/HY1PkuFKz0

— Paige Donnelly law (@donnelly_law) June 12, 2018

The #mprraccoon is doing a little grooming now that he's a social media star. You know, on a 23rd floor window ledge. @MPRnewspic.twitter.com/pGcwh7OJ6L

— Tim Nelson (@timnelson_mpr) June 12, 2018

The raccoon finally stirred in the evening around 10 pm, and he began ping-ponging between stories, climbing up, then down, then back up.

10:05 pm update: #MPRraccoon is on the move. Just climbed up to the vents above the top row of windows pic.twitter.com/KTBYZ4V3EK

— Andrew Krueger (@akpix) June 13, 2018

Until the raccoon turned and climbed upward, reaching the top of the building in the early morning hours before dawn.

Here it is, #MPRRaccoon’s valiant climb to the top of the UBS Center in Downtown St. Paul, this morning. @KARE11@MPRnewspic.twitter.com/ot1DPNeRF5

— D.P. (@DPet_KARE11News) June 13, 2018

Look at Rocket Raccoon go. #MPRRaccoonpic.twitter.com/wr7MW8nm2L

— SpeedKillsBP (@BlancaPena29) June 13, 2018

The #mprraccoon just made it to the roof! Video courtesy @DPet_KARE11Newspic.twitter.com/Wb5xPsANZh

— Tim Nelson (@timnelson_mpr) June 13, 2018

The raccoon scaled a 25-foot building and got everyone to stop talking about North Korea, only to find itself in a cage eating cat food — but safe.

After a delicious meal of soft cat food, #mprraccoon has been caught and will be picked up by Wildlife Management. Goodbye friend! pic.twitter.com/twcBPpjOQk

— UBS Plaza (@ubs_plaza) June 13, 2018

Here's the #mprraccoon taking the easy way down, in a UBS Plaza freight elevator. pic.twitter.com/Tj8hDlXWMB

— Tim Nelson (@timnelson_mpr) June 13, 2018

The confinement was temporary, however: The raccoon was released in a suburb of the Twin Cities, according to Wildlife Management Service, which posted the video of the raccoon’s scamper to freedom.

MPR Raccoon Release!

All we can say is WOW and thank you to everyone for all of the kind words and support surrounding our business. We are so proud to be a part of this journey and wanted to share safe the release of the #MPRraccoon ! She was released on private residential property in the southwest suburbs of the Twin Cities with permission from the homeowner. We did consult with the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota (WRC) prior to release and we had determined that the raccoon was safe to release. Again, thank you to everyone for your support!

Posted by Wildlife Management Services on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The raccoon, it turns out, was a 2-year-old female, whom officials described to the New York Times as “a little skinny but in good shape,” though apparently a little tired from the climb.

Experts said raccoons climb when they’re stressed. “Raccoons don’t think ahead very much, so raccoons don’t have very good impulse control,” Suzanne MacDonald, a raccoon behavior expert at York University in Toronto, told the Associated Press. “I don’t think the raccoon realized when it started climbing what it was in for.”

What you've all been waiting for... #MissionImpossible#MPRraccoon@kare11@ElleryTV@DPet_KARE11News@timnelson_mprpic.twitter.com/SZKNem45yf

— Alicia Lewis (@alicialewisKARE) June 13, 2018
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