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Hawaii: A fierce-looking lizard warms hearts at Big Island coffee farm

Hawaii: A fierce-looking lizard warms hearts at Big Island coffee farm
Carl, a chameleon that lives on a Hawaii Island coffee plantation, won't win any beauty contests, but the three-horned lizard is gaining fame as the subject of two children's books. (Greenwell Farms)

A three-horned chameleon named Carl isn't exactly a warm and cuddly creature. But the Hawaiian coffee farm denizen is getting plenty of attention these days, thanks to two books that have been written about him.

The children's books are fictional, but Carl is a very real lizard. He's a member of the family of Jackson's chameleons that reside on the farm near Kailua-Kona on the big island.

Author Daniel Swanson holds a copy of his first children's book, a work of fiction about the very real "Carl the Chameleon."
Author Daniel Swanson holds a copy of his first children's book, a work of fiction about the very real "Carl the Chameleon." (Greenwell Farms)

Carl, more specifically, lives in an orange tree at Greenwell Farms, a Hawaii Island plantation that has been producing coffee since 1850.

Daily tours of the farm, which usually include sightings of Carl, are free --  and they're conducted by Daniel Swanson.

After creating some promotional materials, Swanson went on to write "Carl the Chameleon" and the just-published sequel, "Carl the Chameleon Goes 2 School.” The books -- along with coffee, of course -- are sold at the plantation's retail shop.

Daniel Swanson, a tour guide at Greenwell Farms, introduces visitors both to coffee beans and Carl, the three-horned lizard that is the subject of two children's books he has authored.
Daniel Swanson, a tour guide at Greenwell Farms, introduces visitors both to coffee beans and Carl, the three-horned lizard that is the subject of two children's books he has authored. (Greenwell Farms)

The books share the exploits of an adventurous lizard who -- despite his menacing face with horns -- gets picked on by the school bully.

According to Animal-World, the fattest of the chameleon's horns extends from the nose. Two longer, but skinnier, horns protrude from above the eyes, giving the creatures a fierce appearance. They are one of roughly 200 types of chameleons.

An old tractor and cart point the way to Greenwell Farms, about 10 miles south of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.
An old tractor and cart point the way to Greenwell Farms, about 10 miles south of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. (Greenwell Farms)

No reservations are required for Swanson's daily tours, which operate between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The farm is located at 81-6581 Mamalahoa Highway in Kealakekua, about 10 miles south of Kailua-Kona.

Info: Greenwell Farms, (808) 323-9616

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