Raccoon scaling skyscraper in US grips social media

A raccoon scurries up the side of the UBS Plaza building in St. Paul, Minnesota.
A raccoon scurries up the side of the UBS Plaza building in St. Paul, Minnesota.PHOTO: REUTERS

SAINT PAUL (Minnesota) • A daredevil Minnesota raccoon has kept social media users in the United States glued to their screens and on the edge of their seats after being spotted scaling a skyscraper, Spider-Man style.

The critter, named #MPRraccoon after the Minnesota Public Radio station located opposite the UBS Tower building, became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter yesterday.

The raccoon was first spotted late on Tuesday morning a few storeys up on a window ledge, its brownish body just a smudge on the 25-storey building's concrete and mottled stone exterior.

The tower is one of the tallest buildings in the city, reported CNN.

By lunchtime, the radio station's reporter Tim Nelson tweeted that the raccoon had climbed 12 storeys up the tower - and things were getting stressful. Soon, its endeavour was capturing the attention of the legions of humans who were following it nationwide.

Mr Nelson said the creature had got stranded on a neighbouring building two days before, "likely on an errant mission to raid pigeon nests on the skyway". And it apparently decided that the only way to go was up.

The local CBS affiliate began live-streaming the journey.

By mid-afternoon on Tuesday, the raccoon had ventured an additional 10 storeys up, its claws somehow digging in enough to continue. On a window ledge on the 22nd floor, it paused to rest.

Onlookers watched and took photos from the sidewalk far, far below.

A raccoon stretches out on a window sill high above downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. PHOTO: REUTERS

Concern over the raccoon's safety prompted the city's mayor, Mr Melvin Carter, to reassure the raccoon watchers that help was on the way.

The difficulty of assisting the raccoon was made more difficult as the building's windows do not open. "We're working with staff & building owner to find a way to help #MPRraccoon without further endangering it or staff by scaring or making it feel threatened," he said.

A raccoon scratches itself on the window sill of the Paige Donnelly Law Firm on the 23rd floor of the UBS Plaza building. PHOTO: REUTERS

Twitter celebrated yesterday as the raccoon finally made its way to the rooftop after occasional naps and several retreats.

The raccoon, said animal-control authorities, would be trapped and aided down.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2018, with the headline 'Raccoon scaling skyscraper in US grips social media'. Print Edition | Subscribe