The animal – dubbed #MPRRaccoon on Twitter – appeared to defy gravity in scaling the vertical face of the UBS building, in St Paul, Minnesota, edging its way up the concrete facade floor-by-floor.
Its audacious bid for safety was captured by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) journalist Tim Nelson, and quickly followed by a legion of fans united in anxious support.
For those who gathered on the street to watch its journey, the raccoon was visible as a tiny dot. Closer up, it could be seen braced against the curved wall, its legs splayed and clinging to the concrete.
Nothing could be done to help the creature, according to St Paul animal control, as the windows of the UBS building could not be opened and it was too high up to risk a rescue.
Live traps were filled with aromatic food and placed on the roof of the building but, aside from that, the creature was on its own.
Online, many viewers refused to accept that nothing could be done, while others discussed their emotional investment in its plight.
The creature’s heroic ordeal began on Tuesday morning, when Mr Nelson tweeted a photo of it trapped on a skyway – thwarted in what may have been an attempt to raid pigeon nests.
“This poor raccoon apparently got itself stranded on a ledge of the Town Square office building in downtown St Paul,” he tweeted.
It was believed that, even then, the raccoon had gone without food and water for two days.
After registering its immediate peril, the creature climbed the first 20 storeys of the building fairly rapidly and remained there for much of Tuesday afternoon, sleeping on the 20th floor.
It was filmed stretching and grooming itself on a ledge on the 23rd floor of the building, apparently nonchalant about both the deadly drop and its new social media fame.
It then began a tentative descent before making its final bid toward the roof of the building, reaching the 305ft-high (93m) top on Wednesday.
“There’s something tragic and inspiring about a poor, starved, and dehydrated raccoon refusing to give up and scaling a high rise building just to survive,” Eugene Gu said on Twitter.
“Life is precious and worth fighting for.”