OAKLAND — Perhaps this is the year to propose marriage, on bended knee, to the love sounds of the camel.

That may be possible on an Oakland Zoo Animal Amore Tour held the weekend before Valentine's Day this year.

See, the camels tend to mate, loudly, at about 10 a.m. every day.

Oakland Zoo Programs Manager Jeanne Acceturo said if they are lucky, people taking the tour just might get to see some of that love on the eve of the most amorous day of the year.

But don't count on it. Acceturo, who will be leading one of the tours on Feb. 12 and 13, said the camels took Valentine's Day off last year.

"Maybe our expectations were a little high," Acceturo laughed as she led a short version of the two-hour excursion that explores the love life of animals at the zoo and in the wild.

Acceturo is a veritable Dr. Ruth on the subject of creature copulation and the tour is her chance to recite animal breeding and sexual behavior trivia to a mature audience. The whimsical tour gives lovers and families the opportunity to hear some of the most intimate details of many animals' lives.

"It is a comfortable environment for people to learn about subjects we may be uncomfortable discussing," Acceturo said. The tour is not recommended for children under 12.

Male and female primates, like the zoo's White-handed Gibbon, pair up socially but may not be wholly monogamous, Acceturo said.

When the female gives birth, the couple takes care of the baby together. Yet up to 30percent of the offspring of couples are not the offspring of the males.

"That would be a scandalous number if it were humans," Acceturo said.

Another intriguing relationship is that of the zoo's blue and gold macaws. The zoo has four of the birds, one female and three males. Instead of fighting over the female, two of the males have come together as a couple and build nests for offspring they will never have.

The tours are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. It costs $10 to join the tour, and preregistration is required.

Call (510) 632-9525 to make reservations.