Srimate Ramanujaye Namaha!
Interesting question Swamy.
If we have answers to the following questions we may be able to understand the answer to the above question.
- In which yuga did the incident happen?
- In which loka/planet did the event happen?
In satya yuga life span of everybody was in many thousands of years(order of 100,000 years), that is why rishis were able to do penance for a long time …similarly in treta yuga also life span was very long, So that is why Lord Rama and His associates spent their time in earth for 10,000 years or more.
So if the incident had happened in Satya yuga where average life span is 100,000 years, then 1000 years is like 1/100th of the life time.. so in today’s context if an elephant has 70 years life span 1/100th of 70 years is like 0.7 year which is few months.. so because the time scales we live in and the actual event are different we are finding it difficult to accept.
On the other note does the exact verse in scripture refer as 1000 years or many years?
Also they were not ordinary elephant and crocodile , they were heavenly incarnations. if the event happened in a place other than bhuloka then the time scale in such lokas are also different..
Finally on a lighter note, the interesting aspect is Alwaars consider Perumaal as their food, water , resting place and everything.. so from their perspective, they will think how we badhatmas are struggling in this earth for 1000’s of years without food and rest!