The world is watching. The fate of millions hang in the balance as a key summit tests the resolves of peoples and nations across the planet. The ultimate outcome remains uncertain, but one thing, above all, is clear: our lives will never be the same again.
What? No, we’re not talking about the Trump-Kim photo-op. We are, of course, talking about the raccoon that – at the time of writing – has climbed right to the top of a skyscraper in Minnesota.
As has been widely reported, people are extremely stressed out.
Worriers include Guardians of the Galaxy-director, James Gunn, whose predilection for sci-fi raccoons has led him to offer money to anyone that can safely get this little critter back down again.
The latest, according to BuzzFeed’s genuinely thrilling live update piece is that the raccoon has made it to the top of the 23-storey UBS Center skyscraper in downtown St. Paul, after spending much of the day climbing up said building, with occasional, death-defying clambers back down.
It’s reported that cat food-laden humane traps left by the fire department await the raccoon on the roof, but at this point, it’s unclear if it’s been captured.
Either way, as you can tell by reactions on social media, things have been bum-clenchingly tense. Some have directed their panicky energy into making fan art.
The Guardian described the “daredevil” raccoon’s near-24 hours ordeal as “nail-biting.” Apparently the raccoon had already climbed up another nearby building and was safely removed, but it then proceeded to ask everyone to holds its beer and one-up itself.
Raccoons, as far as we’re aware, aren’t prone to pretending to be Spiderman – although we have contacted an animal behavior expert to check, because science.
According to National Geographic, these omnivorous mammals have a lifespan in the wild of just 2 to 3 years, so perhaps this particular creature decided it wanted to live its short life to the extreme. It may be listed as “least concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, but suffice to say we’re all pretty damn worried about this one.
LiveScience points out that raccoons – found in North and Central America, Europe and Japan – are both opportunistic and adaptable. They can make homes pretty much anywhere, in both entirely natural environments to the human-made, but it’s not clear if they’ve ever tried the top of a skyscraper yet.
Raccoons are also particular anti-social, and when approached by humans can get pretty angsty. Although this is mainly a concern because of their potential to spread diseases, like rabies and parasitic roundworms, in this case we all clearly hope it doesn’t take a tumble and become an unwelcome pancake on the sidewalk.
At one point during the climb, the raccoon chilled out on a few exterior window ledges. Although potentially thievable, the risk of a fall was too great for the fire department to take though.
If it did, though, no doubt a raccoon shrine will appear. There’s a precedent for this: a fantastically creepy vigil appeared next to the remains of one in Toronto back in 2016 after animal services spent a little too long waiting to come and remove the furry corpse.
Regardless of whether this tale ends in a victorious rescue or a fatal slip, we can safely say that the story of Skyscraper Raccoon will enter into eternity. Much like those who were lucky enough to witness Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the surface of our pale guardian, we’ll all surely remember where we were when this bona fide drama began to unfold.
“Some may never live, but the crazy never die,” Hunter S. Thompson once said. Damn right.
Update: Turns out that today is Raccoon Parkour Day. As reported by The Star, a baby raccoon was rescued from a high-rise building in Toronto earlier today.