Why no work got done today in the Twin Cities: a raccoon saga (updated)

A raccoon has found itself where no known raccoon has gone before, on the 23rd floor of the UBS Tower in downtown St. Paul.  The raccoon’s plight has fascinated and concerned many on social media Tuesday, as evidenced by the hashtag #mprraccoon that has been trending nationally on Twitter the entire day.

This story begins Monday night with a naive raccoon and a likely quest to raid the nest of some local pigeons. The raccoon first found itself stranded on a downtown building ledge on 7th Street. Noticing the distraught raccoon, workers tried to jerry-rig a ladder to help the raccoon to safety. Nervous, the raccoon scurried to the corner of Cedar Ave. and 7th Street.

From there, the raccoon bolted up 14 stories of the building. After a short break, he/she ventured on, eventually landing on a 23rd-floor ledge outside of the Paige Donnely Law Firm. The raccoon has gone more than 24 hours without food or water.

Tim Nelson of MPR, who has been following the raccoon since Monday, explained why it has not been rescued yet. According to Nelson, the raccoon would not respond positively to someone trying to rescue it because he is in a nervous, fragile state.

The result of an attempted rescue could end badly in the form of the rescuer being bitten or scratched by the raccoon, or the raccoon panicking and jumping off the edge of the building. A jump that Nelson said the raccoon “wouldn’t survive.”

Outcries of support for the raccoon’s survival have been pouring in on Twitter, as she continues to capture the time and productivity of people around the world.

Animal control has reportedly placed live traps with cat food on the roof of the UBS Tower in hopes the raccoon will smell the food and climb to safety.

UPDATE: A couple of hours before midnight, the raccoon climbed down to around the 16th floor and stopped for another rest. The raccoon then started moving horizontally and not vertically across the building and social media users held a collective breath as things were beginning to look dire for the little critter.

But after another nap on the 17th floor, the raccoon began ascending up the building, once again reaching the 23rd floor.  After moving laterally on that floor,  she seemingly began to move strategically to the corner of the building for a better grip and around 3:30 am she made the successful trek to the rooftop where there is said to be live traps with food.

Wildlife Management Services posted the release of the raccoon on its Facebook page on Wednesday with the message below:

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!


Arrows through for even more social media reaction.