1994 April 18
310 South Michigan Ave
An Adelaide magazine called INVESTIGATOR (January 1992 No. 22; March 1992 No. 23) had articles about an alleged Britannica discrepancy.
The Micropedia entry "Cobra" in the 1988 edition says that cobras respond to the movement of the snake charmer and that the charmer's pipe plays at too high a frequency for snakes to hear. (3:415)
The Micropaedia article "SENSORY RECEPTION" (27 159) says that snakes detect airborne sounds in the range 100-700 hertz.
INVESTIGATOR reproduced a letter from the High Commission of India explaining that the instrument played by snake charmers is called a "been" in Hindi and that its playing range is 250-500 hertz.
Subject to the loudness being adequate the cobra should therefore hear the tune and (I expect) at least part of its response would be to the sound.
According to INVESTIGATOR these matters were reported to the Britannica editorial division. Yet upon examining the latest edition I found the discrepancy still there.
May 25, 1994
Please excuse our delay in responding to your letter of 18 April regarding an error in the Micropaedia entry "cobra".
Some time ago, the editors were informed of the need to revise the entry, but it had not been possible to do so before now. The editor responsible for the Micropaedia has scheduled the entry "cobra" for revision next year. We appreciate your taking the time to contact us.
Stephen P Davis