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Raccoon Scales Minnesota Skyscraper, Captivating Anxious Viewers

A raccoon’s journey up the side of a St. Paul, Minnesota, skyscraper caught the interest of nervous onlookers hundreds of feet below and on social media across the globe on Tuesday.

The critter, dubbed #mprraccoon by Minnesota Public Radio, was first spotted Tuesday morning just a few stories off the ground — then it started to climb.

According to Minnesota Public Radio, the raccoon was first spotted on a small ledge of a nearby building, where it huddled all day and night. A maintenance crew tried to offer it an escape route, but the creature — that likely hasn’t had water or food for two days — fled to a second building and finally to the UBS skyscraper.

Though the behavior may be considered out-of-the-norm for raccoons, it had likely been chased or scared before ascending, a wildlife research scientist with the state’s Department of Natural resources told the Star Tribune. And luckily, their long, strong claws make them pretty good climbers, said John Erb.

“They have long fingers and a lot of dexterity for grabbing hold of things,” he told the newspaper.

The windows of the UBS Tower don’t open, so at this point animal control authorities hope it keeps going to the roof where it can be rescued in a live trap, according to WCCO. St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter tweeted that his office was working on a solution with the building’s owners.

According to Erb, “People leaving it alone will allow a quiet, undisturbed time to let it get away.”

But the furry animal’s ascent up the UBS Tower, as it clung only to the building’s rough exterior more than 20 stories above the ground, started to stress people out, both on Twitter and on the ground.

The critter even had an account created in its honor, its first tweet reading, “I made a big mistake.”

As it continued it’s journey skyward, people began posting images of the raccoon’s progress:

It appeared, by about 1:30 p.m. local time, he had climbed nearly to the top of the building.

But, an hour later it had still not reached the roof. Instead, the woodland creature was taking some time to get camera-ready in light of its newfound fame.

With still no clear way to rescue the distressed critter, one bystander hatched a plan to enlist a drone, though it’s not clear how it could help.

As night descended on the city, the raccoon still sat on a ledge in the last set of windows near the top — apparently the 23rd floor — mostly resting but sometimes popping up to fidget around, a Facebook Live from WCCO showed.

But it appeared his plan was not to make it to the top. By 1 a.m. on Wednesday, he had scurried several stories down to the 17th floor, an MPR journalist who’d been closely following its movements said in a tweet. It had also been seen circling the building laterally.