We analyzed mineral lick soils and non-mineral lick soils from the Serengeti National Park, the Konza Praine, and Yellowstone National Park The concentrations of 14 different elements considered important for ungulate nutrition were analyzed to determine the relative importance of Na vs other elements in attracting animals to lick areas Only Na was consistently higher in the mineral lick soils of the three ecosystems Mean Na concentrations were c 20x greater in Serengeti licks, 10x greater in Konza licks and 3x greater in Yellowstone licks compared to the respective non-lick soils Despite the numerous elements analyzed for this survey, our results suggest that Na is the primary element initiates mineral lick use in these widely separated ecosystems The widespread distribution of Na-deficient forage likely explains the importance of Na in most mineral licks