Raccoon Stuck On Skyscraper Ledge Makes Nerve-Racking Move After Rescuers Fail To Reach Her

There isn’t a whole lot of appreciation in the world for the pesky, trash-eating critters we call raccoons. But put just about any animal in a life-threatening situation, and amazingly, humans show an incredible capacity to band together and love the heck out of ’em.

When a Minnesota Public Radio journalist notified social media of one raccoon in serious trouble, he probably didn’t expect much of a response. What followed, however, was a public reaction so massive that the troubled raccoon’s story spread far outside the city—and had people across the planet on the edge of their seats…

On June 12, 2018, Minnesota Public Radio reporter Tim Nelson (left) broke a story that would send the cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul into a collective frenzy. Something, he tweeted, was happening on a 7th Street office building.

MPR News

On a second-story ledge looming over a truck docking bay, a raggedy brown raccoon was curled up helplessly on the concrete. But this was no simple story of a raccoon out of place…

Tim Nelson / Twitter

“This poor raccoon apparently got itself stranded on a ledge of the Town Square office building in downtown St. Paul,” Tim wrote. “Likely on an errant mission to raid pigeon nests on the skyway over 7th Street. It’s been there for two days now, without food or water.”

Evan Frost / MPR News

Immediately, the internet was abuzz with sympathy. Some wondered why no one had tossed the raccoon some food. Others suggested running water down the ledge so the little lady had something to drink.

With what would become known as the “MPR Raccoon” now the center of the public’s attention, building maintenance workers launched a rescue effort. So, what was their proposed solution to the raccoon’s predicament?

Evan Frost / Twitter

It was a handmade ramp! The maintenance men clumsily hoisted it up towards the second floor ledge, and the raccoon—an independent mammal who clearly didn’t want help from anyone, skittered away. Then, she made a crowd-shocking decision…

Evan Frost / Twitter

The raccoon started to climb. With her sharp claws designed to scurry up tree trunks, she dug into the side of the squat downtown building and ascended skyward, making her situation—much to the dismay of her ever-growing fan club—far worse.

Tim Nelson / Twitter

The raccoon made it to the top of the two-story building with impressive ease. But instead of waiting patiently on the roof for rescue, she then approached an adjacent building. It was the UBS Plaza—and it was 25 stories tall.

DPet_KARE11News / Twitter

Within moments, the raccoon was five stories above the ground. A mistake on her part now meant a long fall and an ugly demise. The people on the streets and at home following this raccoon’s journey had reached peak distress.

Evan Frost / MPR News

“I am stressed about a lot of unknowns,” one Twitter user in Washington, D.C. wrote, “and I am crying about a raccoon trapped on the ledge of a building in Minneapolis.” Would anyone be able to help this critter before disaster struck?

Tim Nelson / Twitter

Well, the starving raccoon made the situation worse by doing what she was apparently absolutely fiendin’ to do: she kept climbing. She went from the fifth story to the tenth to the twenty-third. Surely, she was exhausted.

Tim Nelson / Twitter

At that height, the now-famous raccoon naturally became a bit tired… and she took a nap. She “just seemed sweet and cute and very mellow,” said an employee of the office on the 23rd floor. But cute and mellow wasn’t going to bring this gal to the ground.

Tim Nelson / Twitter

Many animal control companies suggested the raccoon would eventually just climb down herself, but her fans weren’t so sure she’d have the strength. They desperately tried to find other solutions. Unfortunately, the windows of the UBS Plaza building were sealed shut, so an open-and-grab operation was out of the picture.

Evan Frost / Twitter

Making matters more complicated, no one quite knew how the raccoon would react if someone approached her. A hungry, thirsty, and frightened raccoon would probably think a leap from the ledge was her best option.

Johnny Vince Evans / Twitter

Officials went to the UBS roof and set up a raccoon buffet, hoping to entice the hungry animal all the way to the top of the building. They set up a humane trap filled with cans of wet cat food, which, evidently, is the “cream of the crop” for raccoons. All they could do then was wait…

Evan Frost / Twitter

When the raccoon awoke from one of her naps, she smelled the savory cat food waiting for her on the roof. But, strangely, she didn’t keep climbing up as she’d been so enthusiastic to do. Instead, she frustratingly went back down to the 17th floor!

Richard Tsong-Taatarii / Minneapolis Star Tribune

Those following the raccoon’s ascent and descent could hardly handle the drama any longer. Twitter users so badly wanted this raccoon to find safety that they were entering various states of mental decay.

Alleycat2007 / Twitter

At about 2:35 a.m. on June 13—five hours after her descent to the 17th floor—the raccoon, though she seemingly lived for it, couldn’t handle anymore drama. At long last, she started climbing up towards the cat food again…

DPet_KARE11News / Twitter

Mercifully, the good news arrived later that morning. The man who broke the story, Tim Nelson, tweeted, “Top floor [office] says UBS building management has told them the [raccoon] formerly in their window HAS BEEN TRAPPED.”

UBS Plaza / Twitter

In the early morning sun, the Wildlife Management Services charged with rescuing the now-beloved raccoon collected the caged superstar. Cameras rolled for the moment, capturing what seemed like the most anticipated event in the city’s history.


People across the globe rejoiced. “Someone texted me this morning,” said St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, and wrote, “‘We needed this win.'” Another MPR Raccoon-lover summed up everyone’s feelings with a Photoshopped image of the raccoon as Time’s “Person of the Year.”

Will Dollinger / Twitter

 And while that may have seemed like goofy hyperbole—this was just an ordinary raccoon!—the Time magazine image captured perfectly the unifying power that a story like this one had on people. In other words…

If anyone tries to tell you that humanity is made up of pessimistic misanthropes, just remember the time thousands of people banded together to root for the survival of a wayward raccoon!

Just watch the MPR Raccoon settling in on a ledge after a long day’s climb; it was just one of the cute actions she took that endeared her to the world. What a special moment this raccoon created for everyone!

From the 23rd floor: Raccoon scales St. Paul skyscraper

We've removed our Facebook Live of #mprraccoon because the video inadvertently included personal information. We are replacing it with this shorter video. We hope you enjoy.You can read the full story here: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/06/12/st-paul-raccoon-scales-skyscraper-social-media-star

Posted by MPR News on Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The MPR Raccoon touched the hearts of people across the country and proved that, when it comes to animals, humans have an incredible capacity to set aside their differences for hope!

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