If you are one of the few lucky people to see a sea turtle nest hatch at the beach, know these rules before your excitement gets the best of you!
First off, as tempting as it may be, it is actually illegal to touch or hold a baby sea turtle in Florida. Since all species of sea turtles are on the endangered species list, handling a sea turtle without proper licensing or permission can lead in a big fine. However, that doesn't mean that you can't snap a picture to brag to all your friends you saw a nest hatch! Just use your zoom and capture it at a safe distance.
One of the first things you may want to do is run straight up to the nest to witness all of the commotion - but this could cause disorientation of new hatchlings and make them start their journey to the street instead of the ocean. This is something we do NOT want to happen! If you do see baby sea turtles waddling in the wrong direction, you can use your body to steer them to where they are supposed to be going - the ocean!
If you notice that the babies are struggling to get out, do not use your hands to dig them out yourself! While this may seem like the best thing to do, moving the sand around could bury and trap other hatchlings who are trying to escape the nest as well. The best thing to do would be to call your local sea turtle rescue group to head out to the beach to assist. These people are trained to safely handle nests and hatchlings and have much knowledge in what they are doing.