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Accurately assessing free-ranging animals? patterns of surface activity and refuge use is critical, yet fundamentally challenging for biologists and wildlife managers. We evaluate the accuracy of an automated technique?temperature-based activity estimation (TBAE)?in estimating surface activity and refuge use patterns of two sympatric reptiles, the western diamond-backed rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) and the Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) in the Sonoran Desert. TBAE derived from a comparison of body temperature to shaded air temperature was effective in estimating the overall percent surface activity for both rattlesnakes (observed surface activity 51.8%, TBAE estimated surface activity 48.2%) and Gila monsters...