Paul raccoon reaches roof after scaling downtown tower, causing internet frenzy


A raccoon scurries up the side of the UBS Tower in St. Paul, Minn.

America breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday after a scruffy brown raccoon was captured safe and sound following a perilous climb up a skyscraper in the northern state of Minnesota.

The animal was last seen bolting out of the trap and into a wooded area in a video clip shared by wildlife management services on Facebook. The first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive a special raccoon mask.

How did a building-scaling raccoon captivate a nation, leaving millions glued to their Twitter feeds for the better part of a day and well into the evening?

On Twitter, they're calling #MPRraccoon "The hero we never knew we needed".

While a raccoon climbing up a building is surely unusual, it might not even make it a month in the memories of the millions who followed her journey.

Fears were growing for the raccoon's safety after almost 20 hours on the building without food or water.

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By lunchtime, Minnesota Public Radio reporter Tim Nelson tweeted, the raccoon had climbed 12 stories up the UBS Tower - and things were getting stressful.

She reached the roof just before 3am on Wednesday, apparently unable to resist the scent of wet cat food that was waiting for her in a raccoon trap set by Wildlife Management Services.

One Twitter post said that the celebrity raccoon has succeeded in uniting the country the way no politician could.

Onlookers and reporters tracked the raccoon's progress Tuesday as it scaled the UBS Tower.

It is not unusual for raccoons to climb fairly tall trees and other structures, according to Ms MacDonald and Mr Jenni, though neither had heard of one climbing such a tall building before.

The whole saga kicked off on Monday, when staff from the Minnesota Public Radio public radio building noticed the little cutie atop the city's Town Hall. St. Paul Animal Control believed it may have been there all night before it started heading skyward.