An intrepid raccoon which climbed to the top of a skyscraper in Minnesota had thousands around the world on tenterhooks after becoming stranded on a ledge.
The free-climbing mammal could be seen scaling the side of a 25-storey UBS office block in the city of St Paul in the US state on Tuesday.
Bystanders and reporters followed the racoon’s progress as it fearlessly climbed the tower, many expressing anxiety about its safety.
By Tuesday evening, it had stopped on a ledge at least 23 storeys high.
Minnesota Public Radio branded the animal #mprraccoon and the hashtag quickly gained traction on social media and spread around the world.
Twitter users said they were praying for the woodland creature.
The raccoon was first spotted on a ledge on Tuesday morning when it was just a few storeys high. St Paul Animal Control believed it could have been there all night before it started ascending the building.
Tim Nelson, a Minnesota Public Radio reporter, said the animal was “likely on an errant mission to raid pigeon nests on the skyway”. But it could be seen relishing grooming itself and lying down along the way.
Local stations started live streaming the raccoon’s movements with thousands of viewers tuning in to track its movements.
The windows on the building cannot be opened and he said animal control experts were attempting to coax the creature to the roof where it is able to be safely captured.
It now appears the animal, who has been christened “Spider-Raccoon” by locals, has managed to make its way to the top and climbed over.
“RACCOON UPDATE: We just watched as he made it to the top and climbed over! They have traps with food and I'm sure he is HUNGRY,” Kim Johnson, anchor for local TV station WCCO, tweeted.
A Twitter account for the animal was quickly created – with one tweet saying: "I made a big mistake."