They are commonly referred to as masked bandits, look cute... from a distance. Although raccoons may conjure cute cartoon-like images in your mind, wild raccoons are anything but cute or cuddly.They not only knock over garbage cans, dig up plants and do damage in and around your home, but they also carry a serious, life-threatening disease known as raccoon roundworm in their feces, making it very important to keep raccoons off your property.

Those which use a child's sandbox or other play area as their own personal latrine, put your kids and their friends and playmates at risk. Raccoon-Roundworm disease is potentially deadly. They can be highly destructive. They can find their way into your house and destroy pretty much anything in their path along with creating a huge mess. Keeping raccoons off your property is the humane way of dealing with them. Scaring them off makes more sense than harming them.

Have your dog help you out. No matter how large or small your dog is, they can help get rid of them. Give your dog a towel, blanket or a lrage, old rag or two to sleep on and play with for about a week or so to get their scent deeply imbedded into the fibers of the fabric. Cut the blanket, rags or towel into strips that are 1 to 2 inches wide and 6 to 8 inches long. Lay the strips around plants or tie the dog scented strips around trees, fence posts, garbage can handles, deck posts or hide them in shrubs. Place them anywhere that they have been pests or destructive.

Scare them away with noise. Decorate your yard and garden with flags made of nylon or attach bells to the flags so each time the wind blows, the noise will scare the timid raccoon. Stake pinwheels that make a clicking noise in the ground throughout your garden and yard. You can even tie bells onto ribbons and hang the bells from trees or gutters. Even time the wind blows the bells will make noise and startle the raccoons.

Keep them out of the garbage cans, a favorite place to snack. Fill a spray bottle with water and add 4 to 6 tablespoons of liquid hot sauce. Shake the bottle to mix. Spray your garbage can lids, outside and inside with the hot pepper. Repeat if it rains. They do not like a hot and spicy meal.

Install motion sensor lights on your house or staked into the ground. Every time a raccoon crosses the sensor's path the lights will come on and scare them away. Install solar motion sensor lights to avoid the cost of electricity to power the light.

Cut sections of chicken wire and fit them around your plants. They do not like the feel of wire on their paws. Make the sections extend at least 12 inches from each plant in all directions.

If all else fails, set humane traps or better yet hire a professional to set traps and release the raccoons into the wild and away from your house. If you do not have experience dealing with raccoons, don't. If you trap a raccoons and have no experience, setting them free after they've been trapped, you can quite easily be bitten.

If you are bitten by one seek emergency medical attention. They carry a wide variety of dieases including rabies.

If you have a raccoon-problem, keep a child's sandbox covered when not in use to keep them from using the sandbox as a bathroom.