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Climbing Raccoon Becomes Internet Star

St. Paul, Minnesota —(Map)

Earlier this week, a female raccoon became very big news on the Internet after it started climbing up a 25-story office building. Millions of people around the world watched as the raccoon worked its way up a tall tower in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Raccoons are great climbers. Their strong paws with long claws allow them to grab on tightly. Their back feet can turn around and point backward, which helps them when climbing down.

Someone posted this picture of MPRRaccoon climbing.

The raccoon was first reported on Tuesday by Tim Nelson from the Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) station. He gave it the name MPRRaccoon.

The raccoon seemed to be stuck about 20 feet (7 meters) off the ground on a low building. Some people think the raccoon might have gone up to see if it could find pigeon eggs to eat. But the raccoon had been stuck there for two days without food or water.

Some workers set up a ladder to give the raccoon a way back down. But the ladder scared the raccoon, and so instead of going down, it ran away and began to climb.

Close-up of a front paw of the raccoon.
Raccoons are great climbers. Their paws help them hang on.
Close-up of a front paw of the raccoon.
(Source: Gaby Müller, via Wikimedia Commons.)

Soon, it left the low building it was on and started climbing the UBS tower – the 15th tallest building in St. Paul. In about 10 minutes it was 12 stories up. That’s when many people started to follow the story over the Internet.

The raccoon kept climbing through the day. Sometimes it stopped to rest outside of windows.

It stopped climbing when it reached the 23rd floor – two stories from the top of the building. That was around three in the afternoon. Workers put cat food out on the roof, hoping that the raccoon would smell the food and go up.

The raccoon looks like a tiny dot in this picture posted by Tim Nelson.

But the raccoon rested until around 10:30 at night. When it started moving again, instead of going up, it went down. It went all the way down to the 17th floor.

Finally, it changed its mind and went up again. A little before three in the morning, the raccoon climbed over the top of the building. It found the cat food and ate it. “She was a little skinny but in good shape,” one worker said.

MPRRaccoon was caught in a cage and let go in the woods.

The food was in a trap, so that the workers could safely take the raccoon away. MPRRaccoon was finally set free in some woods outside the city.

Raccoons may look cute and cuddly, but they are wild animals. They can be dangerous and they can make people sick. MPRRaccoon is in the right place for her now.

Raccoons are natural climbers, able to grab on to almost anything.
Raccoons are natural climbers, able to grab on to almost anything.
MPRRaccoon has been released into the woods.
(Source: via Wikimedia Commons.)

The story of the raccoon’s climb had a big effect on millions of people around the world. A small crowd of people grew near the UBS building. Millions of people watched and commented on the raccoon’s progress on the Internet, watching late into the night. Hundreds of people have created artwork based on the raccoon’s climb. Other people are selling t-shirts with pictures of MPRRaccoon. The St. Paul Saints, a local baseball team, even changed their name for one night to the St. Paul Raccoons.


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