Environmental productivity is important in determining defensive or tolerance traits of plants, with nutrient-rich savannas showing tolerance and nutrient-poor showing defence traits. Animals are affected differently by such traits due to differences in size, and other characters. We studied differences in browsing as a response to plant traits by elephant, giraffe and impala in Mikumi, a nutrient-poor savanna, and Serengeti, a nutrient-rich savanna, both in Tanzania, for a total of 4 mo; 2 mo at each site. Browsing time on a plant, species and height browsed were recorded. Spinesence reduced biting rate by elephant in Serengeti to 3.8 bites min−1, compared with 4.7 without spines, but had no effect on impala or giraffe. Leaf size affected biting rate by giraffe, decreasing with size in Serengeti from 19.8 bites min−1 to 17.4 bites min−1, increasing in Mikumi, from 17.7 to 19.5 bites min−1, but did not differ in elephant and impala. Biting rate by elephant in Serengeti decreased with browsing height from 0.6 m to 4.2 m and by impala in Mikumi decreased from 0.25 m to 1.5 m, while that of giraffe in Mikumi increased with browsing height, peaking at 4.2 m. The effect was comparable for elephant and impala.