It was an ordinary day at the Minnesota Public Radio office in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Then Tim Nelson, a MPR reporter, saw something taking place at an office building over on 7th street. That something was a raccoon and he was on a 25-story building.
19. A Daring Raccoon
Nelson is a general assignment reporter and as soon as he saw the raccoon, he knew the public needed to know about this animal’s daring exploits. First, the raccoon needed help – it had been stranded for 2 days on a ledge. This raccoon had more adventure to come, however.
18. Up, Up and Away
A maintenance crew decided to help the raccoon and made a ramp for it to descend down to safety. The raccoon had no interest in that and skittered away. The workers’ hearts may have been in the right place but the raccoon relied on her own instinct and made her choice… to go up.
17. Jumping Like Spiderman
Ever the reporter, Nelson watched the raccoon as he managed to rescue itself. Soon the raccoon has ascended a skyscraper next door. First, it went to the 5th floor and Nelson shared the updates, receiving over 2,000 retweets. Where would the raccoon stop?
16. The MPRRaccoon
The raccoon hit 12 stories on the UBS Tower, but how high would it go? Nelson didn’t know but he was going to share it with the world. MPRRaccoon, as the creature was named, ascended the exterior walls with her claws like she was climbing a tree.
15. Trending Worldwide
Nelson continued to share updates and soon, the #MPRRaccoon hashtag was trending on Twitter. People from the area and all over the world were watching to see what would happen next. A small crowd gathered on the streets as the creature climbed.
14. Concerned Twitter Followers
Over on social media, people were worried about the future of the raccoon. “I’m going to need one of you to tell me when it’s safe to look at Twitter again. And by “safe” I mean “sometime after #mprraccoon is rescued, swaddled with a fluffy towel and given some milk and a cookie,” wrote Star Metro columnist Jennifer Brooks.
13. Break Time
People close to the action in the UBS building shared photos of the little critter. Meanwhile, the raccoon had paused on the 20th floor for a break. Nelson shared that the windows of the UBS building didn’t open so they couldn’t rescue MPRRaccooon that way. What was going to happen next?
12. Animal Control to the Rescue
St. Paul Animal Control tried to think of a solution including putting a live trap on the roof but they had to let the raccoon go up there on its own. While all of this was discussed, the raccoon was taking a well-deserved nap on a ledge. The nap was brief and soon the creature made it to the 21st floor.
11. Raccoon Buffet
Animal control decided to use open cans of wet cat food to entice the raccoon up to the top floor. Raccoons love wet food, so they thought it was a sure bet that she would be anxious to eat at their buffet.
10. No Dice
But the raccoon wasn’t having it. She awoke from her nap, got a whiff of the wet food and smelled a trap! The wily raccoon climbed down to the 17th floor.
Twitter users started to have a meltdown stressing over the poor animal’s fate. One even joked about needing a doctor to call in a prescription for anti-anxiety medication.
8. 25 Floors!
Finally, after 2:30 am, after five long hours on the move, the raccoon started to climb back up the building. Her destination? That warmed over cat food on the roof!
7. Reporting Around the World
Intrepid news reporter Tim Nelson was still on the job. He tweeted that the raccoon had been trapped by animal control on the roof. By this time, even NBC News anchor Lester Holt was reporting on the wild climb.
6. Time to Celebrate
Hours earlier, the raccoon was anonymous. But by the time she was rescued, she was a superstar. Cameras captured the moment when she was gently carried down from the roof in the early morning sun. Her new fans around the world rejoiced.
5. Time’s Person of the Year
Someone even photoshopped her on the cover of Time magazine: Person of the Year. Throngs of office workers lined the street below, waiting for the new queen’s arrival.
4. Raccoon Cool
The St. Paul raccoon brought people from around the world together. A photograph of her lounging on the ledge captures her whimsical cool.
3. St. Paul Raccoons
The raccoon’s 25-floor ascent is now legendary. The town’s minor league baseball team, the St. Paul Saints, changed their name to the St. Paul Raccoons.
The happy raccoon was released back into the wild, but her legend will live forever. Minnesota Public Radio is selling merchandise featuring her lovable face. Proceeds will go to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Enterprising fans made their own shirts marking the event.
For all you bobblehead collectors, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum announced it’s making a St. Paul Raccoon bobblehead. The bobble head will cost $25 – one dollar for each of the stories in the UBS building she climbed.