As millions across the US slept, a small raccoon who first captured the attention of Minnesota, and then the world, did something remarkable.
He made it to the roof.
At about 2:30 a.m. local time, a grainy live feed from St. Paul showed a shadowy little figure scurrying up and onto the top of a 25-story building, prompting an almost audible sigh of relief from the internet.
For hours on Tuesday, Twitter users followed the exploits of the daredevil free-climbing raccoon. The drama started after maintenance workers removed the creature from the roof of a St Paul office block.
Not prepared to take a hint, it headed to the neighboring UBS tower – one of the tallest buildings in the city.
Then it started to climb.
People noticed, and before long it had its own Twitter account.
The hashtag #mprraccoon began to trend, attracting celebrity followers.
The city’s mayor, Melvin Carter, assured raccoon-watchers help was on the way.
With no balconies or windows that open, office workers inside the building were left to watch anxiously as the raccoon continued its climb.
At the 23rd floor, it stopped for a nap, allowing time for more photos.
As night descended on St. Paul, the raccoon appeared to start climbing down, before reversing course. Concerned that the raccoon had become trapped, Twitter users called for a host of inventive solutions, including sending up a hot air balloon to take the raccoon to safety.
In the end, there was no need.
The raccoon was caught and was to be picked up by the city’s Department of Safety & Inspections, according to a tweet from the building’s owner, UBS Financial Services.
The critter was put into a cage after “a delicious meal of soft cat food,” according to UBS.
The raccoon was then taken to private land in the southwest suburbs of the Twin Cities and released back into the wild by Wildlife Management Services, the organization said on Facebook.