A woman was attacked and severely injured by a crocodile, while swimming in a lake in far-north Western Australia.

The 38-year-old woman was taking a dip in Butler Cove, Lake Argyle, when the large freshwater crocodile, measuring around 8.2 feet (2.5 m), bit her in an unprovoked attack.

The woman was taken to the Kununurra hospital, following the attack, and then transferred to the Broome Regional Hospital, according to ABC Australia.

The unidentified woman was said to be in a stable condition.

The woman was part of a group that had hired a boat to explore the lake. The woman was swimming in the lake when she was attacked.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions said a freshwater crocodile was spotted in the area soon after the attack, and matched the size of the reptile that attacked the woman, PerthNow reported.

Staff members from the Parks and Wildlife Service East Kimberley District patrolled Butler Cove the day after the attack, and once again spotted a crocodile of the same size. The reptile approached and interacted with the patrolling vessel, a department spokesperson said, following which it was shot to ensure the safety of visitors.

“Both the behavior of a crocodile approaching the boat and the events of the previous day is consistent with what staff would identify as a problem animal,” the spokesperson said, according to the outlet. “In order to ensure public safety in the popular recreation and swimming area and with consideration to large community events such as the annual Lake Argyle swim taking place this weekend, staff destroyed the animal.”

The sight of such freshwater crocodiles is common in Lake Argyle, and it is estimated around 35,000 such reptiles inhabit the man-made lake.

These reptiles are not typically dangerous. However, they do have the potential to cause serious harm and can be aggressive if provoked, the spokesperson explained.

“As with all wild animals, freshwater crocodiles’ behavior can change if people feed or interact with them,” the spokesperson said. “The animals can begin seeking out people as a source of food and start exhibiting dangerous behavior.”

The department encouraged those who spot freshwater crocodiles interacting with people as they swim, fish, camp or boat to alert their local Parks and Wildlife Service office.

Representative image Credit: Pixabay / dMz